By Jeanne Sager
MONTICELLO November 25, 2005 Charles Penna is still the supervisor in the Town of Mamakating.
Although initial reports had challenger Carl Bonitz winning the election in the Town of Mamakating supervisors race, board of elections officials discovered just Wednesday that Penna held onto his seat by six votes.
The totals were 1,245 for incumbent Penna, 1,239 for Bonitz.
Thats after complete recanvassing of the machines and the hearings we had to have to open absentee ballots, said Board of Elections Commissioner Fran Thalmann late Wednesday.
We didnt even realize . . . we were kind of surprised, and needless to say its been an interesting day! Thalmann said.
Unofficial figures released just after the election, which did not include all three voting districts in the township, showed Democrat Bonitz ahead 1,105 votes to Republican Pennas 1,011.
In an interview with the Democrat, Penna even conceded that Bonitz had won the election.
Reached Wednesday, Penna was still recovering from the news.
What can I tell you? Im flabbergasted, he said.
This had nothing to do with Carl and me, Penna said of the election. This was between the environmentalist movement and the pro-growth movement . . . the environmentalists put a tremendous amount of effort into defeating growth in the town.
They were trying to destroy the tax base in this town, he continued. They thought they won it, and they havent.
Penna had not spoken out on his personal feelings about the controversal mushroom factory proposed in Mamakating prior to the election, while Bonitz ran on a platform opposing both the factory and a casino in the town.
Penna said this might be the first time in the state that an environmentalist fight played out in an election has not been successful.
This could have repercussions statewide, Penna said.
Bonitz could not be reached for comment by press time Wednesday.
The elections results will be certified next week, according to Thalmann.