Conley Beats Incumbent Holden in Mayoral Race

Republican Landrigan, Democrat Vitale win council seats.

Bob Conley, vice president of the Madison Area YMCA, beat incumbent mayor Mary-Anna Holden in Tuesday's election by an unofficial margin of a little more than 200 votes.

It is a triumph for Conley, who was very thankful on Tuesday night for the volunteer efforts that boosted the Democrat's presence in Madison throughout the campaign.

"I think the biggest part was that we had a tremendous volunteer effort behind us, from the pieces we got out in the mail and really got our message across and from going door to door," Conley said. "I think we had the right message, and that’s obviously key. If it’s the wrong one, it’s not gonna work."

Conley was also very complimentary of Holden for her years of service to the borough.

"Mary-Anna has given Madison 14 years of dedicated service, and she deserves credit for everything she’s done," Conley said.

Holden was gracious in defeat, pledging to make for an easy transition as Conley prepares to take office in January.

"I've served the community very well, and I've accomplished everything I’ve wanted to do. I've moved an agenda of things that haven’t been done since 1992," Holden said. "I leave Mr. Conley with a clean slate, and I'll be happy to make this a smooth transition for him."

One of Holden's running mates, Bob Landrigan, won his bid for township council, while Democrat Carmela Vitale received three less votes and earned the other open council seat, according to Tuesday night's unofficial results.

"First of all, I just want to say this was very bittersweet," Landrigan said. "I’m happy I won, but I feel bad for my other two running mates that did not (Holden and council candidate Martin Barbato), because they’re very good people. I’m glad for Bob Conley and Carmela Vitale, but I feel bad for my running mates."

Nonetheless, Landrigan pledged to work in cohesion with his fellow council members when he takes office.

"As far as I’m concerened going forward, everybody should have the same focus. Madison, right now, is a tough challenge," Landrigan said. "The country’s in pretty rough economic shape right now. Madison has to do right thing by its citizens, and the council has to work together to do that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican; we have to make sure we take care of our town."

Vitale, as the other new member of the council, is ecstatic at the chance to serve again.

"I am so excited, and I am so happy," Vitale said. "I’m looking forward to working with Bob Conley again and getting back on that council. I’m excited, very excited."

The first challenges for the mayor-elect and his council involve shared services, as well as making sure everyone in the community has an equal voice at borough council meetings.

"We’ll start working before Jan. 1, but (the first task) will be developing shared services. We need a long-range strategic plan for the borough in order to survive in this tough economy under tough fiscal constraints," Conley said. "(We will also be) changing the demeanor of council meetings, where residents can come in, speak and be listened to. We haven’t had a whole lot of that."

Tuesday night's unofficial general election results for Madison Borough are below.


Robert Conley (D) 1,937 Mary-Anna Holden* (R) 1,719


Robert Landrigan (R) 1,822 Carmela Vitale (D) 1,819 Martin Barbato (R) 1,781 Robert McDowell (D) 1,446
Lisa Ellis November 10, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Have you actually attended any council meetings? Marty Horn has never presented himself in any way that could be considered less than professional since the quest to get these fields built began years ago. I have often wondered how he was able to remain patient in the face of the absurd, unfounded attempts at sabotaging the project. Marty Horn is no one's athletic director, by the way. He has graciously served as the chair of the Madison Recreation Committee for the last few years. This is a committee made up of volunteers respresenting all the youth sports groups in town which has been instrumental in getting the MRC project off the ground. He is also involved with the Madison Athletic Foundation which has assumed a major role in fundraising for the project.
MasonVerger November 10, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Mr. Horn's attitude towards some of the opponents of the turf fields reminded me of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Anyone who was against the fields was labeled a Communist and had venom spewed upon them.
Patrick Franklin November 10, 2011 at 12:45 AM
Yep, sure have. So you're saying he has never yelled at any council members?? Sorry, I should have said Chairman of the Athletic foundation (not athletic director).
Patrick Franklin November 10, 2011 at 12:59 AM
In other words he is one of the people responsible for having Madison take out a loan for millions of dollars while in the middle of a recession (no worries the tax payers will always pick up the tab). Thanks for all your hard work Marty.
Patrick Franklin November 10, 2011 at 01:00 AM
I'd say that's a fair comparison.
Madison Station November 10, 2011 at 01:39 AM
I'm with you on that. In another article I'm attempting to defend the money spent on the Lincoln Place rehabilitation, an eyesore that has been a thorn in Madison's side for years. The challenger quotes that this is not the time to be spending money on such projects. But, this IS the time to spend the money! Low interest rates and low bids from contractors = great value in the long term.
Madison Station November 10, 2011 at 01:42 AM
Occupy Madison - If that were to happen, it would be held on Waverly Place and Poor Herbies would be hired as a caterer to run food to idling SUVs.
Patrick Franklin November 10, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Lol. Funny stuff.
Lisa Ellis November 10, 2011 at 02:03 AM
This project is ten years overdue and will be worth every penny, no matter who ultimately pays the bill. And you witnessed that first hand? More than once after a council meeting I saw Marty very patiently talking to one of the primary opponents of the turf project and trying to separate fact from fiction. The man is committed to the truth and doing what is right for the kids of Madison. Thankfully, ignorance and a lack of vision did not win this battle and the actual turf should be laid on Friday.
Lisa Ellis November 10, 2011 at 02:10 AM
I have been at all but a few council meetings since this project got going and yes, I am saying that Marty never yelled at a council member during a council meeting and I have known Marty for well over a decade and I can say I have never heard him raise his voice. I have seen him many times calmly and intelligently stand up for what he believes in and am very thankful for that.
Patrick Franklin November 10, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Yes, many have seen Marty lose his cool. Its pretty much common knowledge in Madison. The funny thing is I always hear about how long overdue the fields are. Why wasn't the fund raising started 10 or 15 years ago?? That seems like ignorance and lack of vision to me.
Patrick Franklin November 10, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Well I'm sorry you've never seen Marty lose his cool. It is absolutely hilarious, and if you think this issue didn't have something to do with the Mayor being ousted you're delusional.
Patrick Franklin November 10, 2011 at 02:42 AM
BTW, anyone notice how Marty's biggest supporters are now conceding that the tax payers will ultimately have to pick up some of the tab. A few months ago Marty would have verbally abused anyone who merely suggested this. Now since the project has been shoved down the tax payers throat, it's just said matter of factly now. At least EX Mayor Holden was held accountable for this blatant lie.
Larry Bruce November 10, 2011 at 03:19 AM
The beauty/irony of it is that she beat John Elias in the last election by about 60 votes because she "promised" there would be new fields in 6 months.
Steve Wells November 10, 2011 at 01:37 PM
No, Larry, a key reason she won the last election was because I worked overtime twisting arms and delivering first-time voters. I stayed on the sidelines this year, and there was no coordinated AGGRESSIVE effort in her campaign. But other key factors were: 1) Madison, like most of the country, rejected the Tea Party values, as Codey easily beat Eames (by roughly the same number of votes that Conley beat Holden) and his coattails were valuable for Bob to ride. 2) The unholy bargain that was brokered by the Dems with Cerciello (at McDowell's expense) certainly resulted in some votes for Conley, and probably was the difference in Vitale beating Barbato. 3) Holden's understandable impatience with Cerciello over the last 2 years alienated him and his supporters, and they let it be known. 4) As has been bantered, there WAS an anti-fields vote. 5) And maybe most important, the Dems' over-the-top hatred of Holden, combined with a convenient alliance with Codey, resulted in a determined campaign effort.
Karin Swenson Szotak November 10, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Steve, now it's my turn to agree w you. LOL! Well at least on most of your points. But here is a few followup points to consider. You supported MAH this time as well, and according to you the Dems acted unscrupulously. So why did you decide to watch rather than act for this election? I'm not saying there wasn't an anti-fields vote. But I happen to believe it is more the lack of interest or apathy on the part of those who support the fields to get out and vote. Most believed that MAH had a lock, but there were almost the same amount of votes cast at the last 2 BOE elections as this week. That is why MAH lost. That is what truly is disturbing.
jerry stevenson November 10, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Steve....that's quite a good analysis.
Larry Bruce November 10, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Ok Steve, time to put an end to this silly notion that we are "allies". Pay attention Karin. Addressing your comments in order: First, are you denying that she made that promise in the Elias election? I didn't realize you were mainly responsible for getting her elected last time. Congratulations. Why not this time? Did even you get sick of her? Coatails, who know? "Unholy Bargain" - stop with the vague stuff and give us some details. You're acting no better than the people who won't use their real names. I'm told that this is totally untrue. Re your #3, I don't know anything about it. Haven't been to a council meeting since the Peachie, Peck, Holden triumverate did Jack Dunne's bidding which revived the Democratic party in this town. Re #4 - of course there was some of that although I'm for the fields and voted for Bob. Re #5 - "over the top" and "hatred" are subjective terms. I'll confess to a strong dislike of her methods though. Can't speak for anyone else as you apparently can. Re alliance with Cody, not sure what that means but why wouldn't there be? If this isn't enough, I see JS ageees with you. Case closed.
Steve Wells November 10, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Karin, I never publicly supported anyone in this year's election. Yes, I ended up voting for Holden for the following reason: I like Bob Conley, and believe he's a decent guy whom I agree with more often than not. That said, I a) worry whether he has sufficient time to devote to the job, and b) and more importantly, whether he has the backbone to stand up to his Dem cohorts behind-the-scenes and be his own man, or if he's simply going to do and say whatever they tell him (which concerns me because the motives and methods of a few of them are highly questionable). That Bob didn't stand by McDowell rather than going along with the sub rosa Cerciello deal gives substance to this concern...and to make it worse, I don't for a minute believe he actually voted for Cerciello on Tuesday. Bottom line: He should have said "No" to the nonsense and dirty politics. The reason I personally didn't roll up my sleeves and work for Holden is that, after all my efforts 4 years ago, although she and I remained friendly, I never was made to feel part of her "team" the way people only marginally involved in her campaign were. And add to that my intense dislike of, and lack of respect for, Christie, whom she has always enthusiastically supported, and I was better off kicking back and watching the national Republican candidate circus imploding on tv. Is that candid enough for you?
Slip November 10, 2011 at 03:14 PM
I agree concerning the anti-field vote and the overall lack of interest on the part of the voters as the main factors of the election results. Those who oppose the fields were much more inclined to make a statement then those who were in favor. But I'll be honest, outside of this site, and a couple of recorded VMs the day prior, I barely knew an election was taking place. Point being, I don't know if the MAH team themselves thought they were likely to lose this election Also agree they should ban any posters who don't use their real names
MadInNJ November 10, 2011 at 05:48 PM
The Real Irony is that the Dems made a huge issue about the debt for the fields ($3.5M) after borrowing massively ($30M) during the time they controlled the council. What is also Ironic is how they made such a big deal about how spending money on the fields would “destroy” the Library, yet the library annually receives support from taxpayer of over $1M, or about $225 from the property taxes on the average Madison home (Note – this does not include annual capital funding). On the other hand, the fields, even IF all the fundraising failed, and the only support the borough received to cover the debt service was from the User Fees and other revenue, like advertising and field rental, the annual cost of servicing the debt on the same Madison home would probably be about $25 – 30! OMG . . . Crushing Debt . . . NOT! What is crushing us is the $2M in annual debt service that the Dems did put on the books. So you have to give them credit – They never delivered on their promise to provide adequate fields (and please don't get me started about Bayley Ellard), even after pretending to set aside $1M to covering turfing of at least one field, but they somehow made the Mayor the “Bad Guy” for getting it done, even in the face of relentless obstruction from the Debt Cassandras and the Green Police. Amazingly, they turned their candidate in to voice of fiscal sanity, even though they ran up debt and wiped out the borough’s surplus. Well Spun.
Marty Horn November 10, 2011 at 05:48 PM
PatrickFranklin, nice try with insults. We will continue to push forward and raise the money for the fields. The taxpayers will not be burdened. Even mayor-elect Conley now acknowledges the $1 million pledged toward turf from the sale of the Health Building so we have about $2.5 million to go but, or course, we plan to raise more than that amount. Maybe you can reveal your identity and join the fundraising team. We will continue to work on behalf of Madison and finished what we have promised despite haters like you.
Larry Bruce November 10, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Mr. Horn - "haters"? Wow. Maybe there is something to that seemingly ridiculous comment by some nameless guy above re McCarthyism surrounding this issue.
jerry stevenson November 10, 2011 at 06:50 PM
On a different tangent (for those of you with a Facebook account) type in known names off these blogs and Madison into the search box and see what comes up. Nice to put a face and a profile next to a blogger.
Steve T. November 10, 2011 at 07:04 PM
People who post under their real names tend to be less ridiculous - but there are exceptions to the rule. Coolbreeze (despite his poor taste in music, I mean, Lynyrd Skynyrd? Really?) and MadinNJ are two of my faves. I usually don't agree with his politics, but his arguments are usually plausible. Karin uses "LOL!" excessively. My 2 cents.
MadInNJ November 10, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Only "plausible," you really know how to hurt someone Mr. T. ;)
Madison Station November 11, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Patrick Franklin November 11, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Marty, you're always saying how long over due the fields are so please explain why you didn't start the fund raising much sooner (seems like a lack of vision and leadership to me). I'm actually for the fields, but fed up with the lies and misconceptions that you continually spin. Here on Patch Conley illustrated how poorly ran and under funded this project is and it helped him win the election! Maybe MAF would be better off with out you (I'm sure Conley would love to see you go).
Slip November 11, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Agreed. You all with the personal criticisms really need to give it a rest. Debates are one thing, but the personal attacks are quite another. Within the past week there was another post thread here that the editor needed to terminate for the same reason. They talk about bullying and tormenting at the schools. You certainly don't have to look far to see where they get it from. Clearly not everyone's going to agree, but go to the appropriate venues and have your debates. Or if you are so inclined take it out back and settle it. That would actually be more mature than some of what goes on here.
CoolBreeze November 14, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Ok Mr Tombalakian, The Lynryd Skynyrd cover of JJ Cales "Call me the Breeze" is a fantastic example of a 12 bar blues guitar shuffle, and it is impossible not get moving when comes over the box. I guess I'm just partial to the Blues, as opposed to its somewhat pretentious spawn, Jazz.........


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