Donald Ploetner stops to pose for a photo when he was stationed at the Sparta Post Office. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Donald Ploetner, II speaks to a resident outside of the Sparta Post Office. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Campaign signs lined along Sparta Avenue in Sparta. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
U.S. Senate Candidate Bader Qarmout outside of the Green Township Firehouse, ready to vote with son, George, and wife, Jennifer. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Bader Qarmout prior to voting. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Bader Qarmout prepares to vote with son, George at his side. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Jennifer Jean Miller interviews Bader Qarmout. Credits: Jeff Goyette
Andy Ball (left) speaks to former Sussex County Freeholder, Glen Vetrano, at The Dining Room in Sparta. Vetrano was there among supporters for Dennis Mudrick. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Freeholder candidate Dennis Mudrick with some of his supporters. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Supporters for Dennis Mudrick begin arriving at The Dining Room. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A bumper sticker on a car outside of The Dining Room. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A sign posted outside of the Farmstead Golf & Country Club, where Gail Phoebus and Helen Le Frois supporters convened. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Le Frois watches preliminary results on her phone. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Supporters for Gail Phoebus and Helen Le Frois at the Farmstead Golf & Country Club. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Gail Phoebus walks among supporters. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A supporter puts their arm around Helen Le Frois. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Helen Le Frois reads some preliminary results from an iPad. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Gail Phoebus among supporters at the Farmstead Golf & Country Club. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Lou Crescitelli, Sussex County Young Republicans Vice-Chair, monitors results from his laptop. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Chris Kelly with Hal Wirths, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Senator Steve Oroho. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Donald Ploetner II speaks to supporters at the Adam Todd. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Chris Kelly speaks with supporters. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Jim McCracken, Sussex County Ombudsman, and Ailish Hambel, Chair of the Sussex County Republican Committee, announce the official results. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
On The Campaign Trail: Primary Race Leads To Phoebus And Mudrick As Republican Freeholder Picks
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 • 12:56am
ANDOVER BOROUGH, NJ – The freeholder primary race came to a close yesterday night, with results announced at the Adam Todd around 10pm.
On the Republican ballot, Gail Phoebus of Andover Township, and Dennis Mudrick of Sparta were last night’s winners, with Phoebus taking 5, 135 votes (26.99 percent), and Mudrick at 4,431 with 23.29 percent of the votes.
The Mudrick win split the Phoebus and Helen Le Frois seats, with Phoebus’ running mate coming in with 3,913 of the votes, at 20.56 percent.
Other candidates were Chris Kelly with 17.37 percent of the votes, taking 3,305 votes, and Donald Ploetner, II with 11.24 percent and 2,139 votes.
In addition to the freeholder primary, the primary for the U.S. Senate took place, with Sussex County’s Bader Qarmout as one of the candidates. However, Joe Kyrillos took the lead, with 4.676 votes (45.45 percent), with Qarmout coming in second with 2,508 votes (24.38 percent), and candidates Joe “Rudy” Rullo with 1,644 votes (15.98 percent), and David Douglas Brown with 1,409 votes (13.70 percent).
For the 5th Congressional District, Congressman Scott Garret took the lead with 82.67 percent of the votes (6,225 votes), with Michael Cino and Bonnie Somer coming in with 686 and 598 votes, respectively.
Rodney Frelinghuysen took the 11th Congressional District, with 97.97 percent, or 2,418 votes.
“I want to thank all of our supporters,” Phoebus told The Alternative Press. “I’m so happy I got to meet Helen and be friends with Helen. I think she would have been a wonderful addition to the freeholder board. She’s a lovely, right, caring person. Her family has become like my family.”
About Mudrick, Phoebus said, “I’m very happy Dennis and I can continue to work well together, and we’ll be able to work well with those on the freeholder board, and bring great things to Sussex County.”
“It’s been a good day,” Mudrick told The Alternative Press today. “It was a good night. The best two words I can describe is ‘humbly overwhelmed.’ I’m very thankful that the county residents put their vote out there.Throughout the day, The Alternative Press met up with the candidates at various places where they frequented, and then where they waited for the results.
At 1:15pm, Qarmout took a moment from his attendances at the Junior Olympics, to speak with The Alternative Press.
“I’ve met a lot of people here today, who’ve said, “When I get back to my district, I’m going and voting for you,” Qarmout reported to The Alternative Press.
Ploetner was in front of the Sparta Post Office at 1:40pm, when The Alternative Press met up with him. He said he was there from “11:30am and still pushing it”, and busily spent his time introducing himself to passers by who entered and exited the post office.
“This is the home stretch,” Ploetner said. “This is politics at its finest.”
Ploetner planned to spend his afternoon continuing to encourage residents to cast their votes, and then attend the Sussex County Republican Committee event at the Adam Todd beginning at 8pm.
At 4:20pm, The Alternative Press reconvened with Qarmout, when he arrived in his district to vote, at the Green Township Firehouse on Kennedy Road. He arrived with wife Jennifer, and son George.
“It’s been a very positive day,” said Qarmout. “Now it’s up to the people to choose. We must all come together to defeat Menendez.”
“I’ve enjoyed traveling the state, and meeting all the people from all walks of life,” Qarmout continued. “We just need common sense back in government.”
Qarmout planned to wait for the announcements at home with family, friends, and supporters.
The Alternative Press met with all other candidates after 8pm, where the Mudrick camp spent time at The Dining Room in Sparta, Phoebus and Le Frois at Phoebus’ Farmstead Golf & Country Club, and Kelly and Ploetner at the Adam Todd.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Mudrick told The Alternative Press a little after 8pm last night. “It was a busy day.”
Mudrick, like Qarmout, attended the Junior Olympics, and spent the day reaching out to some supporters.
Former Freeholder Glen Vetrano was among the Mudrick supporters last night. He was the first to lament about the voter turnout.
“It’s obviously too early to tell,” said Vetrano about the race results. “It’s going to be a low voter turnout. That’s upsetting with how hard the candidates have worked.”
“We need to find a way to engage the voters,” Vetrano added, noting even in a Presidential election year the turnout is lower than usual.
At 8:30pm, The Alternative Press stopped to the Farmstead Golf & Country Club.
“We’re nervously awaiting the results,” Le Frois said, sitting at a table with husband, Gregory, the chair of the Phobus and Le Frois campaign committee.
“They’ve worked really hard,” he said. “They’ve been out nearly every night, attending events, meeting people, and finding out what’s important to the people of the county.”
At 8:45pm, some preliminary results were announced there, with 45 of 119 precincts reported, and Phoebus with 1,630 votes, Mudrick with 1,499, Le Frois with 1,279, Kelly 1,129, and Ploetner with 744.
“It’s a shame the voter turnout is so low, it speaks to the apathy that’s in the country,” Phoebus said.
“Gail and I have worked hard, we’ve run a great campaign, we’d like to thank everyone for their support,” Le Frois said.
At 9:20pm at the Adam Todd, most local government officials, as well as some current Freeholders (Parker Space, Rich Zeoli, and Richard Vohden), as well as Assemblywoman Alison McHose, Assemblyman Gary Chiusano, and Senator Steve Oroho.
Prior to the announcement having been made at 10pm, The Alternative Press asked Chris Kelly if he had a comment, and he replied, “Not right now.”
On his Facebook page, Kelly later released this statement:
“Well Facebook friends, Sussex County has two new freeholders and I am not one of them. I finished in 4th place behind Gail, Dennis and Helen. I wish Dennis all the best in November and I'm sure he will serve Sussex County well. He ran an honest campaign and I congratulate him.”
Ploetner, who stayed for the remainder of the event, told The Alternative Press, “It’s time to get behind who’s won tonight and make sure they win in the fall. I’m here for them.”
Le Frois released a post-election statement:
“First and foremost, I’d like to say congratulations and best wishes to my running mate and friend, Gail Phoebus! I am very excited that Gail secured the Republican nomination and I look forward to the fantastic work Gail will do as our Sussex County Freeholder!”
“Secondly, while I am disappointed that I will not be joining her on the ballot in November, I am so proud of our campaign, our determination and hard work, and our commitment to the residents of Sussex County. Gail and I ran for the Freeholder nomination for the first time against two candidates that had ran before and have name recognition in the County. We have worked hard since February and went in to the race knowing our work was cut out for us. We’ve met so many extraordinary people along the way and I am grateful for the outpouring of support we have received. We absolutely have no regrets.”
“And furthermore, now that the Primary is over, I am hopeful that the Republican Party in Sussex County can work together to ensure success in November.”
Le Frois thanked her family, Phoebus’ family, and their supporters.
“I am proud of my results and the numbers as they stand,” Le Frois concluded. “I look forward to finishing out my responsibilities as the Mayor of the great Town of Newton, and then taking a little break as I evaluate my next steps and opportunities to serve my town and county.”
“I would have liked a better performance,” said Qarmout. “All the targeted attacks from the GOP had its effect on voters. I feel satisfied I did what I was compelled to do.”
Qarmout continued, “I will be using any built up support we have gained in the county to work on key issues in the future, to make sure the county is conservatively represented.”
For complete primary results, click here.