Jackson Township Council to meet for the first time since contentious election

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JACKSON, NJ – It has been a week since the public has heard from former mayoral candidate Marty Flemming and his running mates after they lost their bid for re-election on Tuesday. Tonight, Flemming, Councilman Andrew Kern and Councilwoman Samara Porter-O’Neill are scheduled to appear for the first time in public since last Tuesday’s defeat.

The Flemming team has yet to formally concede their election loss to Mayor Michael Reina, Councilwoman-elect Jennifer Kuhn and Councilman-elect Scott Sargent.

An agenda for the meeting has been published on the township website, noting no new ordinances will be voted on. That agenda is crafted by Township Council President Marty Flemming.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Reina will sit in front of an entire council that endorsed his opponents, including newcomers Nino Borrelli and Steven Chisholm, who were appointed to replace disgraced former councilmembers Barry Calogero and Robert Nixon after they both resigned in the wake of a Department of Justice lawsuit amid claims of civil rights violations and religious discrimination.

“The election is over,” Reina said. “I hope the council will not impede our plan to preserve open space and continue to move our town in a positive direction. It’s time to continue moving forward together.”

Flemming, a week after the votes have been counted, has thus far refused to concede defeat to Reina and his team publicly.

Official county voting records show Reina defeated Flemming 9,424 votes to 8,274 and the prospect of valid mail-in-ballots and provisional ballots being received by the county due to delays in mail service are slim to none at this point.

A political expert on Monday said Flemming’s holdout for more votes is nothing short of “absurd”.

“At this rate, Marty would need about 3,000 ballots to show up in the clerk’s office and to have most of them in his favor,” the analyst said. “That’s just not realistic, given the results so far. There might be at most a few hundred ballots, but he would still fall way short. This election is over.”

During the election, Flemming’s team accused Reina of “selling out” and being in favor of development, often pushing a narrative that Reina has sold out to the Jewish community. Samara Porter-Oneill, in a post-election statement, claimed Reina and his supporters were “bought”.

Reina’s campaign challenged Flemming’s integrity as he flip-flopped on many key campaign issues and contradicted his own campaign literature when confronted in public.

Flemming claimed he was against over-development, but when asked at a public meeting how he would stop over-development, he said, “I never said that.”

At another meeting, Flemming tried to shut down a member of the public who questioned his plan to grow township government and hire more township employees.

The meeting starts at 7 pm in the Jackson Township Administration Building at 95 West Veterans Highway.