More than 25 percent of the township’s 15,000 residents showed up at polling locations on June 6 to cast their vote.
The Cinnaminson Township Committee Republican primary surprised many when newcomers Ernie McGill and Ryan Horner defeated mayor and longtime committee member Anthony Minniti and running mate June Neuman. Two people who weren’t surprised, though, were McGill and Horner.
“I was confident that people wanted change,” Horner said. “I was just hoping and praying that they wanted change bad enough that they would actually go out and vote.”
And they did. More than 25 percent of the township’s 15,000 residents showed up at polling locations on June 6 to cast their vote.
“That just doesn’t happen for a township,” Horner and McGill’s campaign manager William Conley said of the high voter turnout. “At that point, I knew they were going to win and I knew they were going to win big.”
According to unofficial results, McGill was the frontrunner with 1,109 votes, 28.46 percent, followed by Horner with 1,080 votes, or 27.71 percent. Minniti received 862 votes, 22.12 percent, and Neuman received 841 votes, or 21.58 percent.
As there was no Democratic campaign, Horner and McGill will run unopposed in the general election in November to replace Minniti and Deputy Mayor William “Ben” Young, who chose not to run for re-election.
Minniti will leave Township Committee in January after serving five terms. In an emotional Facebook post in the popular “Cinnaminson Neighbors & Friends” group, he congratulated the winners and thanked those who have supported him throughout the years.
“Towns change, political parties change, and that means the people who represent them must change,” the post reads. “I wish [the winners] nothing but the best and ask that we all support their efforts the way you’ve supported mine for the last 15 years.”
Minniti, who has served as mayor four times, also reaffirmed his commitment to continue to work hard for the town until his term ends in December and spoke of his three “great loves” — his wife and kids, his friends and family, and Cinnaminson. Neuman could not be reached for comment.
“Yesterday wasn’t just a win for Ernie and Ryan, yesterday was a win for every family in Cinnaminson,” Conley said on the day following the election. “They, without a doubt, will spend the coming six months preparing to take office and to work every single day to make the town a better place for everybody — whether they’re Republican or Democrat or Independent.”
Conley was approached by a former committeeperson and asked to represent the pair, and when he sat down with them, he realized it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“They were just so genuine, real, honest … there was just something about the two of them when I met them that I knew the most important thing to them was making Cinnaminson a better place to live and raise a family,” Conley said. “I realized that I had to do whatever it took to get them elected.”
McGill is a lifelong Cinnaminson resident who served in the U.S. Navy for eight years and as a Cinnaminson Township police officer for 17 years. He serves as the superintendent of public works in a neighboring town.
Horner, a wealth management advisor, has lived in Cinnaminson for 11 years and volunteers as a basketball, football, softball and baseball coach. Six years ago, Horner and his wife Monica, a CHS graduate and former Cinnaminson teacher, experienced a tragedy when a gas explosion destroyed their Cinnaminson home. After receiving tremendous help from the community as well as the fire and police departments, Horner wanted to serve on Township Committee as a way to give back. The pair’s slogan was “putting our community first.”
“We ran a clean campaign,” McGill said. “I think that people were just tired of the negativity.”
The team had a small budget, so they ran a grassroots campaign. They used their local connections as well as social media to win the election.
“We did a lot of local fundraising where the residents really came out and supported us,” Horner said. “Ernie and I spent a lot of time and a lot of hours and a lot of walking to get a result that was favorable to us.”
Despite knowing they were at a disadvantage going up against an incumbent, Horner says they were cautiously optimistic. He called Township Committee a “dysfunctional organization” and says he has witnessed a lot of fighting at meetings.
“The first thing that we’d like to do is kind of heal that and make sure the residents know that all five individuals on Township Committee are working toward a common goal, which is, quite honestly, making Cinnaminson Township a better place than it was the day before,” Horner said.
He added the township has become divided on how it views Township Committee, and he wants to change that by presenting a unified front and moving in the same direction.
Conley echoed Horner’s sentiments, saying the team will focus on bringing the town back together and doing whatever needs to be done to make Cinnaminson a great place to live.
“I know that the residents of Cinnaminson will come to know them and respect them as I have,” Conley said.