Boro Dems Optimistic After Talking to GOP Council Victor
Mayor and Democratic councilman says they believe John R. Wisniewski will work with them
The election results were not the first preference for Point Borough Mayor William Schroeder, who had hoped he and the Democratic council members could maintain their narrow majority of 4 to 3, which they've only had since Jan. 2.
However, Schroeder released a statement Wednesday saying that he had a post-election Tuesday night talk with GOP councilman-elect John R. Wisniewski that makes him optimistic that all council members, of both parties, are going to work for the greater good of the town.
"While some may see the results as a defeat, we all win," Schroeder wrote in an email. "The win is huge as the re-election of Chris Leitner is an event of great success. The fact that Chris won is a testament to his dedication and his ability to communicate with the public."
It also shows voters had confidence in Leitner's ability "to work tirelessly for a better Point Pleasant," Schroeder said.
"I congratulate John Wisniewski on his win, becoming our newest Point Pleasant Borough councilmember," Schroeder said. "Having had a chance to speak with John last night, I know we will all work toward a better Point Pleasant.
"My heart is out for Lynn and Brian as I know they put a great amount of effort into this election process, to the point of exhaustion for both," he added. "Point Pleasant is the greater good and we will all place that in our sights and move forward with the support of the public."
Leitner said Wednesday that Wisniewski visited the Democrats at the Idle Hour on Route 88 after the election results were announced on Tuesday night.
"I think we're going to get along well," Leitner said. "We talked very generally about what's going on in town."
Wisniewski said that the talk was an attempt to start fresh with council Democrats after recent, and seemingly escalating, partisan rancor has driven a proverbial wedge between both parties in the borough.
"I just wanted to get off on the right foot and get rid of this animosity and vitriol between the Republicans and Democrats in Point Pleasant. It’s gotten to such a silly level that it’s hard to understand how it got to that place," Wisniewski said during a telephone interview Thursday morning.
The GOP councilman-elect also said he was bringing nothing but an open mind to the dais in January.
"I’m not bringing any baggage," Wisniewski said. "I don’t have any preconceived notion or opinion on these guys. I like to make my own judgments on people. I plan to learn as much as possible from (the council members and mayor)."
Leitner said he and Welch knew they would have an uphill battle, since the election is an off-year when there is no presidential or gubernatorial race.
"In an off-year, you usually have only very dedicated voters come out, and they tend to vote party lines," Leitner said.
"Considering Brian came into this late, I think we did very well," he said.
In the borough, Independents have the highest number of registered voters, followed by Republicans and then Democrats. According to the Ocean county Board of Elections, there are 13,050 registered voters, with 6,517 Independents, 4,136 Republicans and 2,389 Democrats.
When asked if he thinks partisan bloc voting will come into play, Leitner said, "Time will only tell. I've just tried to do the right thing while I've been on council. In the past, I've often voted with past Republican councilmen, like John Kaklamanis and Bill Dikun. It's all about just doing what's right and not worrying about the politics."
While Wisniewski said that he was not coming to the council with a specific agenda, he still believed that most residents, Republican or Democrat, want the same things.
"They want a better quality of life and low taxes. I don’t think there’s anybody around who would disagree with that," he said.