John Armstrong had never served in public office before, so while running for mayor of Absecon he made sure to get his name around as much as possible.
Armstrong, a Democrat, defeated Republican Gerald Falivene, a councilman for the past 10 years, 1,943 to 1,746 in Tuesday's election. He will take over for Mayor Pete Elco who decided not to run for re-election after serving six terms and 24 years in office.
A former Atlantic County administrator, Armstrong said that during the campaign he walked around town introducing himself to everyone he could.
"I knocked on virtually every door and shook any hand available to me," he said. "That was essential. I didn't have the name recognition Jerry had."
Falivene declined to comment on the election.
The mayor-elect said running in the same election as Democratic President Barack Obama helped, but he noted voters split the ticket on the council seats. Democrat Sandy Shenk Cain defeated Republican Charles Urban 952 to 752 in the Ward 2 council race, but Republican Frank Phillips defeated Democrat Bart Richter 1,057 to 920 in the Ward 1 race.
The 64-year-old Armstrong said he plans to maintain much of what the city has been doing but add some improvements. He will have proposals for a landlord registration ordinance so owners of rentals can be held accountable and also upgrade access to Absecon Creek and possibly add a beach area.
"Absecon Creek should be one of our great attractions," he said.
Armstrong also said he plans to reach out to everyone in the city before he begins to serve in January.
"We are all a part of Team Absecon," he said.
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