With Votes Counted, Holmdel Republicans Now in Full Control of Township Committee
Ponisi and Critelli win big in the traditionally Republican town.
At a loud, festive gathering at Piazza Italia Tuesday night, Republicans celebrated their big win in Holmdel Township.
Tom Critelli won a full 3-year term on the board, and Joe Ponisi won a one-year term, which means that together with Mayor Patrick Impreveduto, Deputy Mayor Eric Hinds and Committeemen Greg Buontempo, the Republicans now have full control over the governing body.
Critelli, a real estate developer new to politics, will replace the retiring Larry Fink on the dais. Fink, a longtime Democrat Party Committeeman who works for the state Dept. of Environmental Protection, chose not to run again. He had 4,509 votes. Democratic Party challenger Lawrence Luttrell, an attorney, had 2,845.
"I look forward to helping the town move forward on the Lucent development," he said, referring to the long-term plan to transform Alcatel-Lucent 473-acre property on Crawfords Corner Road into a mixed use tax ratable for Holmdel.
Ponisi, a municipal finance analyst currently finishing out Freeholder Serena DiMaso unexpired term, received 4,429 votes, beating the Democratic Party's finance professional Mark Levinson, who received 2,880 votes.
"I am going to work towards bringing other non-property tax ratables into the town," he said. "I don't have a political agenda," he said. "This is all about helping the town of Holmdel."
Critelli complimented the Democrats for "running a clean and honest campaign."
Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said he happened to speak to Luttrell earlier in the day and told him, "'When it all calms down, let's sit down and talk.
"Larry is a very bright guy," the mayor said.
Over at Park East, where the Democrats had gathered in the upstairs lounge, Luttrell said he was sorry he did not win but had been warned that it would be difficult to be elected in a town that tends to vote Republican.
He said he was personally impressed with how many voted in the election, about 7,300, despite the difficulties this week with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Even his runningmate, Mark Levinson, had left the restaurant earlier in the evening with a cold that was surely aggravated by the fact he's had no power at home for more than a week.
"I'm happy so many came out to vote. I just wish it was in my favor," he said, laughing.