First report, 9:24 p.m.: Those hoping for change in Lakewood politics will have to put their “high hopes” on hold as Lakewood’s incumbent Township Committeeman, 62-year-old State Senator Robert (Bob) Singer, has beaten 44-year-old Hershel (Harold) Herskowitz Herskowitz, the owner of Toys for Thought, a Lakewood toy store, who looked for grassroots support to unseat a Lakewood political fixture. Voters, in a close election, chose to keep Singer on board.
The election saw a strong turnout, with about 6,000 votes being cast.
The final results, with 38 of 38 stations (100%) counted, are:
Robert W. Singer – 3,228 votes (54.40%)
Hershel Herskowitz – 2,679 votes (45.15%)
Singer is serving his twenty-first year in the New Jersey State Legislature. He served three terms in the General Assembly, where he acted as Majority Whip from 1992 to 1993. In the State Senate, Singer represents the 30th District, which includes parts of Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Mercer counties.
Singer has been a member of the Lakewood Township Committee for twenty-nine years and has been mayor four times.
Senator Singer is married and has four children.
The veteran legislator – a Lakewood resident for over 30 years – received the endorsement of Lakewood’s Vaad and received the majority of votes in Lakewood’s senior communties.
Herskowitz is currently sitting shivah following the passing of his mother yesterday.
Singer will face off against Democrat Marta Harrison, a former Lakewood mayor who was unopposed in the primary.
Whether it’s hanging fake immigration enforcement signs or demanding resignations at public meetings, Herskowitz made his points heard during his campaign. Herskowitz, as part of the Lakewood Downtown Merchants Commission, has pushed for a rezoning to limit the type of retailers, a bicycle ordinance, parking time-limits in municipal lots and a farmers market.
Herskowitz, during his campaign, also said that Singer works for favors and is the source of corruption and irresponsible spending in Lakewood.
Another criticism by Herskowitz of Singer is the two hats that he has worn as committeeman and state legislator for more than two decades. Future “double-dipping” among public officeholders is now illegal, though lawmakers such as Singer are exempt through a grandfather clause. Singer, however, sees the dual roles as an asset. Asked if it is a conflict of interest, he said: “Other than the fact I’m bullish on Lakewood? No.”
Herskowitz highlighted during the campaign that the township is getting shortchanged by the Lakewood BlueClaws. The minor league baseball club now pays an equivalent of only $25,000 a year. “We need to incorporate the stadium . . . into something that brings jobs and makes money,” Herskowitz said. “It’s been a money loser for us for many years.”
Singer subsequently joined Herskowitz’s call, stated that changes should be made to include “a lot more” rent to the township will be made to the lease in a matter of months.
In the end, in what was a hotly contested race, the majority handed the election to Singer.
We wish the Senator continued success in his role as public servant, doing all he can to help his constituents and fulfilling the promises he made to voters during his campaign.