Veteran Toms River Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill defeated two GOP rivals – including former Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato who received support from the party organization – to become the instantaneous frontrunner to replace Thomas Kelaher as the next mayor of Toms River.
Hill soundly defeated Coronato in the first true electoral contest after the fall of longtime GOP party chair George R. Gilmore. He also defeated insurgent candidate Councilman Daniel Rodrick, who joined the party last year after initially being elected as a Democrat. Hill’s ticket of three candidates also won their party’s support for township council seats in November.
The unofficial results from the County Clerk:
- Joe Coronato – 2,546 Votes (34.20 percent)
- Maurice “Mo” Hill – 3,057 Votes (41.07 percent)
- Daniel Rodrick – 1,836 Votes (24.66)
Council, at-large (3 seats)
- Heather Barone – 945 Votes (4.50 percent)
- Justin Lamb – 1,647 Votes (7.84 percent)
- Christian Momm – 2,425 Votes (11.54 percent)
- John Meehan – 2,349 Votes (11.18 percent)
- Ken Londregan – 1,582 Votes (7.53 percent)
- George Lobman – 1,604 Votes (7.64 percent)
- Matthew Lotano – 2,661 Votes (12.67 percent)
- Joshua Kopp – 2,720 Votes (12.95 percent)
- Kevin Geoghegan – 2,638 Votes (12.56)
- Ginny Rhine – 2,422 Votes (11.53 percent)
The republican primary for mayor saw former Ocean County Prosecutor Joe Coronato as the republican club endorsed candidate, only narrowly earning more votes in the club vote back in March compared to longtime Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill.
Hill, a retired rear admiral and dentist, has served for more than a decade as in the ward and at-large council seats, and is currently council president.
A third candidate, Dan Rodrick, is in his first term as a councilman having won his seat last November as a Democrat.
The mayoral race has seen accusations fly between the candidates played out on social media, in their campaign literature and even on the council dais.
Adding to the mix are the three at-large council seats, for a contested republican primary among a field of ten candidates. Christian Momm, school board member Ginny Rhine, and John Meehan are running on Coronato’s slate under the club endorsement.
Matthew Lotano, Joshua Kopp and former councilman Kevin Geoghegan ran on Hill’s slate as Toms River We the People.
Ken Londregan, George Lobman and Justin Lamb ran on Rodrick’s slate as Conservative Republicans.
Heather Barone, president of EPA Financial and of CASA nonprofit, ran independent of a slate for the council seat.
The campaigns each centered on over development in North Dover and Pleasant Plains corridors of Toms River, how to slow the tide of housing developments near the Lakewood border. Other issues discussed and barbs tossed included municipal spending,and what was possible with the old Ciba Giegy site.
Finger pointing played heavily among the Republican candidates, with campaign literature questioning Hill’s voting record as a councilman, Coronato’s past as prosecutor and a land developer attorney, and Rodrick’s switch from the Democratic party earlier this year.
The republican candidates will face the Democrat candidates of Jonathan Petro for mayor, and Drew Boyle, Karin Sage and Michele Williams for council.