Neff Defeats Levine for Little Silver Mayor
Strong voter turnout as Republican edges out Independent. Democrat O'Hern re-elected to council, to be joined by Republican Mihlon.
Republican Robert C. Neff, Jr. defeated Independent Dan Levine by 378 votes to be elected as the new mayor of Little Silver Tuesday.
In an election that featured 1,984 of the borough's approximately 6,000 residents voting for mayor, Neff took 59 percent with 1,180 votes, and Levine not far behind at 40 percent, or 802 votes.
Incumbent Democrat Daniel O'Hern, Jr. and Republican Dane Mihlon were elected to borough council. O'Hern garnered the most votes with 1,114, Mihlon got 1,054, and Independent Jennifer Pardee finished with 676 votes.
"There are just so many people to thank, I'm going to call people until my battery dies," an ecstatic Neff said shortly after the results became official around 9 p.m. Tuesday. "I have an awful lot of gratitude for all my supporters and some of the recommendations I got from friends. It's truly humbling."
Mihlon was impressed with the amount of voters who came out.
"I think the turnout was fantastic. In an off-year, I think people in the town were very concerned about the future of the town and they showed their intentions at the voting booths," Mihlon said.
Neff said he couldn't recall a race in the borough that was contested in as many ways, with members of three parties involved, and gave credit to his opponent, Levine.
"I think at the end of the day, he is a guy that cares about the people in this town," said Neff.
Levine, who is currently serving as Council President, did not seek re-election to council. He will serve out the year before a new council president is decided upon.
Mayors in Little Silver serve a four-year term, which Neff sees as a positive.
"It's good that it gives me time to focus on the issues and not having to get re-elected real quickly," Neff said.
Neff, who has served as interim mayor since the death of Suzanne Castleman, said he did not believe his few months in the position gave him an advantage in the race. He noted Levine is well-known in his own right, having served the council for the last three years and as the owner of Little Silver Community Hardware.
"Mayor Neff has worked very hard for the benefit of people in town and I think it really showed in the support at the polls," said Mihlon. "We've gone out and knocked on doors, we've canvassed, we've done all the things that I think maintain the proper ingredients of a successful campaign."
Mihlon is honored by the opportunity to join the council, and eager to get to work.
"The people have made a lot of their thoughts and concerns known and we're going to work very hard to make sure that those are all addressed. We're in tough economic times, we're in tough times in general, and you know what? You've got a really great group of folks that are now assembled and willing to move forward on behalf of the people in town," Mihlon said.