Home Haddonfield News Neal Rochford received most votes in Tuesday’s election

Neal Rochford received most votes in Tuesday’s election

Rochford received the most votes during the Tuesday, May 9 election, which means he will most likely become Haddonfield’s next mayor.

Haddonfield Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko (left) shakes newly-elected Mayor Neal Rochford’s hand (center) following the election results. Commissioner John Moscatelli (right) offered his congratulations as the trio learned the election results in Haddonfield’s Borough Hall on Tuesday, May 9.

Haddonfield’s three commissioners, Jeffrey Kasko, John Moscatelli and Neal Rochford, last Tuesday gathered in Borough Hall’s auditorium surrounded by friends and family to await the results of Haddonfield’s first uncontested municipal election since 1945. While each was assured to return as a commissioner, when the polls closed at 8 p.m., one question remained: Who would become Haddonfield’s next mayor? Around 9 p.m., they had a better glimpse of the answer — Rochford.

While the election was uncontested, historically, the commissioner with the most votes serves as mayor for the next four years. Rochford took the lead with the preliminary results giving him 1,056 votes. Kasko followed with 956 votes, and Moscatelli received 866 votes. Votes by mail were considered preliminary and therefore not confirmed as of the reading of the results Tuesday night, according to Borough Clerk Deanna Bennett.

Rochford was visibly emotional when discussing the win.

“I’m so humbled and gratified and stunned,” Rochford said. “It’s really to me such a great honor to be able to serve the borough of Haddonfield.”

Rochford attributed the victory, in part, to his newfound social media presence. He said he utilized his daughter’s social media savvy to build his platform on Facebook and bring his stance on issues directly to residents.

“I used it in a way that I didn’t use it four years ago or prior,” Rochford said. “I was able to get on there a lot and let people know what I was doing.”

However, it wasn’t social media alone that helped Rochford connect with residents. He said he also did things the old-fashioned way and logged a significant amount of time walking the streets of Haddonfield handing his brochures to residents. He said he spent that time talking to residents one-on-one and making connections.

In total, approximately 1,600 Haddonfield residents cast their ballots equating to around 17 percent of the town’s registered voters. The turnout was an uptick over the last time Haddonfield held an uncontested election in 1945. That year, the overall voter turnout was around 10 percent.

While the turnout was an improvement over 1945, some districts saw voter turnout as low as 9 percent with districts two, three and 10 failing to surpass 1945’s 10 percent threshold.

Moscatelli said Tuesday’s low voter turnout was unfortunate, but it was about what he and his fellow commissioners had expected.

“It’s a little disappointing that more people didn’t get engaged, but it’s an uncontested race so I can understand,” Moscatelli said.

Kasko echoed Moscatelli’s sentiments. As he looked up at the election results projected on Borough Hall’s projector screen, he said he was disappointed that in some districts the turnout was only 9 percent or 10 percent.

Despite the low turnout, Kasko said he was grateful for the people who did go to the polls and voted for him. He said he has been incredibly pleased by the support he received as mayor over the last four years.

“It’s my pleasure and my honor really to have served as mayor and to serve as commissioner and to do another term as commissioner,” Kasko said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Kasko will continue on in his capacity as director of finance and revenue, Moscatelli will remain director of public works, parks and property, and Rochford will continue to serve as director of public affairs and safety.

Rochford said the next step is for the trio to have a reorganization meeting in the coming weeks, but he said since each will return to their roles, he anticipates them pushing forward with the work they’ve already started such as the Bancroft redevelopment project and the town’s road program.

Both Kasko and Moscatelli said they anticipate Rochford doing well as mayor.

“We had a good four years,” Moscatelli said. “I expect we’ll have another good four years.”

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