Hamilton Township voters knew they would have two new committee members after Tuesday’s election.
They just didn’t know who they would be until after the votes were counted.
Democrats Rod Guishard and Judy Link defeated Republicans Bruce Strigh and Dave Wigglesworth on Tuesday in a race for two open seats on the Township Committee.
They will fill the seats that will be vacated by Deputy Mayor Charles Cain and Committeeman Harvey Kesselman who decided not to run for re-election.
Guishard had 5,283 votes, Link 4,992, Wigglesworth 4,223 and Strigh 3,950, acording to unofficial results from the Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections.
The committee is now made up of three Republicans, Mayor Roger Silva, Aline Dix and Amy Gatto, and the two newly elected Democrats.
A group of supporters cheered every vote tally at the Democrats’ headquarters at Young’s Skating Center. When they were done, they all embraced each other in a series of hugs and chants of “We did it!” “We did it!”
The victory was especially satisfying for Guishard, 68, who narrowly lost to Dix last year.
“All right, let’s break out the champagne,” he told the crowd after accepting the Republicans’ concession speech.
Guishard said having President Barack Obama run this year and additional support from the local party were big differences from last year. He discussed making recreation more accessible to young residents and promoting more participation among the public as big goals.
Link, 65, said she wants to bring back services that had been eliminated in recent years due to budget cuts especially the senior center.
“I’m breathless,” she said about her win. “It’s an exhilarating feeling to bring the Democrats back onto the board.”
Strigh, a former mayor, and Wigglesworth were disappointed with the results but congratulated the winners. They said they were happy with their campaign.
“We did everything we could do,” Wigglesworth said. “I would not have done anything differently.”