LOWER TOWNSHIP — The independent team led by Mayor Mike Beck swept to victory on Tuesday night, taking all three seats on Township Council.

There were no Democrats in the race, but the independent team of Beck, Norris Clark and Jim Neville defeated Republicans Erik Simonsen, Kevin Lare and Walt Craig.

Beck, 62, of Caroline Avenue, won another four-year term as mayor by outpolling Simonsen, 43, of Admirals Court, by 4,394 to 4,040 votes.

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The vote totals from the township are unofficial but do include most of the absentee ballots.

The few ballots left to count are not expected to make a difference.

In the race for the at-large council seat, which also includes the job of deputy mayor, Clark, 55, of Delaware Bay Drive, garnered 4,045 votes. Lare, 44, of Weeks Landings Road, received 3,954 votes, which wasn’t enough for him to win his second term.

Neville, 53, of Adelphia Road, won the 2nd Ward seat over Republican incumbent Craig.

Neville received 1,669 votes. Craig, 61, of Butternut Road, tallied 1,334 votes.

“We swept it,” said Beck, who has been in office for 12 years but praised his running mates who are both political newcomers.

“These are two really qualified people that have an honest desire to help the town. People will be more than pleased with their work ethic, vision and ability to communicate with people,” Beck said.

Craig, a former local Republican chairman and mayor who took over the 2nd Ward seat when Simonsen moved out of the ward and vacated it, said he plans to retire from politics.

“We didn’t see this coming. We thought it was going to be close. You lose, you lose, whether it’s one vote or 100 votes,” said Craig.

The win means the Republican majority on the five-member council will end at the January reorganization meeting.

Beck had been the only member of council who was not a Republican.

The independents ran on a platform of increasing economic development, boosting the tourism industry, constructing a new police station, running an open government, and looking into building a fishing pier on the Delaware Bay.

Contact Richard Degener:


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