You thought every Democrat in every category won in 2008…everywhere? Think again! And did you think there wouldn’t be an election confusion in a New Jersey election…even an election in a small town like Rutherford? Election confusion in New Jersey? Yes! It doesn’t just happen in Florida! And it didn’t just happen in 2009 between Hennessey and Parnofiello. Joseph DeSalvo, small business owner and electrician, won as the stand alone Republican during the 2008 election season. Even though the president won his election and majority of Democratic party against many Republicans running that year for higher offices, DeSalvo stood out as the Republican victory of Rutherford
The election was between Joseph DeSalvo and Frank Wilson on the Republican side while having Kimberly Birdsall and Frank Boyle on the Democratic side. The previous incumbents, George Fecanin and Joseph Sommer, decided not to run for another term. In other words, four individuals were running in open seats and trying to either increase or decrease the Republican majority in Rutherford.
Looking back at the election, the election could be read in different ways. The Democratic party of Rutherford had the advantage in one way due to the presidental election and many people who wouldn’t vote in other years will come for the presidental election and the Democrats were leading nationally so people might vote down across without switching over. On the other hand, the Republican had a local advantage in Rutherford because they defeated Democratic mayor Bernadette McPherson in 2007 and increased the number of Republicans on the Rutherford council so a new form of leadership was bringing to take place in Rutherford from the previous year.
DeSalvo was the winner of the election, but the provisional ballots still needed to be verified for DeSalvo to become the official victor of the election. Provisional ballots are ballots which are done when a voter is not on the list for their town because they may have just registered or just moved to their new town. In order for them to vote, they cannot vote in the machines. Therefore, they must vote by written ballot and have the written ballots be counted in the headquarters of the county. For Rutherford, it’s Hackensack because Hackensack is the central location for the Bergen County Office of Elections. According to TheRecord newspaper, “Election workers on Wednesday were reviewing those and about 5, 000 others cast in the county to determine which ones were valid” And you thought election problems issues only happened in Florida? Who knew issues can happen in a small town like Rutherford?
Even though many Democratic voters went to vote in 2008, DeSalvo was proclaimed the victor of the council….the sole Republican winner in Rutherford, followed by Democratic opponent Kimberly Birdsall. DeSalvo and Birdsall were appointed to the council on January 9, 2009 as decreed by the Borough of Rutherford. Balance between the two parties, and individuals who would help Rutherford. It is interesting how DeSalvo would be the only Republican to win in Rutherford while it was a Democratic year that year. Rutherford would remain a Republican dominated council that year. DeSalvo would serve under Mayor John Hipp until 2011 where he would serve as liaison to the police, garbage, and head of the council. Kimberly Birdsall would become part of the Green Team im Rutherford which is a group that helps the citizens of Rutherford become more aware of the environment.
DeSalvo would eventually become the next mayor of Rutherford after John Hipp, and Kimberly Birdsall would serve a second term as councilwoman.