By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The attempt by a Republican upstart to wrest a seat from a Middletown incumbent in November failed in Tuesday’s primary.
Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger defended his seat on the township committee with 1,914 votes over newcomer Tony Avallone, who came away with 1,211 votes. Scharfenberger’s Republican running mate, Kevin Settembrino, garnered the most votes, with 2,023.
That leaves a November race in which Settembrino and Scharfenberger will vie for two open seats on the committee one being Scharfenberger’s, and the other held by the committee’s only Democrat, Sean Byrnes, who is seeking re-election. Also in the race is Democrat Mary Mahoney.
Around 9:30p, as votes were still coming in, Scharfenberger said he and Settembrino were “very happy” with the results, which nodded toward victory.
“It’s definitely a result that you want, and you always want to win decisively in a primary,” Scharfenberger said. “It’s something nice to have behind you.”
Avallone had tossed his hat in the ring in the wake of a contentious series of meetings at which Scharfenberger was publicly demonized for his stance on upgrading two township parks. Avallone told redbankgreen he saw Tuesday night’s result less as a loss than as referendum on Scharfenberger.
“If I was Scharfenberger, I’d be a little nervous,” Avallone said, pointing to the fact that Settembrino took the most votes.
Regarding his own race, “I’m a little disappointed. I hoped it would be a little closer,” Avallone said. “I gave it my best shot.”
But he said his future in Middletown politics didn’t end with the evening’s results.
“I’ll be back,” he said.