updated 9:30 a.m. Nov. 9
Republicans Robert Tillotson and Sari Greenberg won seats on the Millburn Township Committee on Tuesday, defeating Democrats Stephen Thomas and Seth Levine.
The top issue in the had been how the township is going to deal with . Other issues included shared services, parking and redevelopment but fixing flooding problems stood out as the issue voters were interested in most.
According to the Essex County Clerk's Office, Tillotson had 26 percent of the vote with 1,614 votes cast in his favor, Greenberg had 26 percent with 1,591 votes. Thomas had 24 percent of the vote with 1,474 votes and Levine garnered 23 percent with 1,417 votes.
Only 17 percent of the 451,561 registered voters in Essex County voted on Tuesday. Millburn Town Clerk Joanne Monarque said on Friday that Millburn has 14,090 registered voters and 3,331 came to the polls or voted absentee, which represents 24 percent of voters in town.
"They seized on the issue of the day," said incumbent Robert Tillotson, regarding the campaign. "They ran a very effective campaign. "We did not expect it to be this close - and that shows you how effective it was."
Greenberg, a lawyer and a mother of two girls in middle and elementary school, said she was thrilled to have won a chance to serve the community as it recovers from flooding.
"It's been a very polarizing couple of months and now we all need to come together as one as we face the challenges ahead of us," she said.
Thomas and Levine had hope to fill the two spots or at least the seat left by outgoing Committee Member Jim Suell, who had been the lone Democrat on the committee.
Thomas called Tillotson and Greenberg to congratulate them early in the evening, after the results started coming in as it became clear they had won.
"It is what it is. I'm surprised and disappointed," he said. "But I enjoyed the process, and will remain quite involved in the township. I do feel that it's unfortunate for the town that it's now a unanimous Republican committee."
Levine echoed that sentiment.
"This is a Republican town, and it shows," Levine said. "But having a totally Republican Township Committee is dangerous - there's no voices dissenting."
Last year, Levine said, he ran to get a parking deck and a river walk -- two things that the town has since started work on.
"So in that sense I won," he said. "I hope this time I 'win' by the township working toward sharing common services and a little bit of future planning to avoid future flooding problems."