Republican incumbents coasted to re-election Tuesday night, preserving the GOP's control of the freeholder board and sheriff's office.
Voters re-elected longtime GOP freeholders Gerry Little and John C. Bartlett Jr. and Sheriff William L. Polhemus by wide margins, with 99 percent of votes reported at 11:30 p.m.
Unofficially, Little and Bartlett captured 111,630 votes and 117,495 votes, respectively, far exceeding the totals recorded for Democratic candidates Joseph Grisanti (74,261) and Pat Barndt (71,738). Independent challengers Scott Newman and Tracy Caprioni each struggled to capture 1 percent of votes cast, with 3,510 and 3,828 votes, respectively.
Polhemus will enter his 28th year in office in 2013 after garnering nearly 56 percent of the vote for sheriff with 110,450 votes. Democratic challenger George "Bob" Armstrong garnered 82,031 votes cast, and Independent John McMenamin received less than 3 percent, with 5,140 votes.
With Little and Bartlett’s re-election, the five-member freeholder board remains stable for the 10th straight year.
Little will be entering his 10th year on the Ocean freeholder board after long experience in government, including a council stint in Surf City and tenure on the Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners. He served as director of the board in 2006 and deputy in 2011 and 2009.
Little also served as chief of staff for the 9th Legislative District from 1984 until his retirement in 2003. Little, a former Marine, also served on the Ocean County Planning Board and county Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Council. As a freeholder, Little has chaired Human Services and worked as the liaison to departments including Veterans Services, Social Services and more.
Bartlett, the chairman of the Departments of Finance and Parks and Recreation, is a former Pine Beach mayor and councilman as well as an ex-teacher at Toms River High School North. He served as director of the freeholder board five times previously and was deputy director twice.
He will enter his 34th year in office.
Provisional ballots are still outstanding and must be counted before the Ocean County Clerk's Office certifies the results.