Rotondi Won’t Concede Council Election

Rotondi Won’t Concede Council Election

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Tom Rotondi, left, and Pete Madden, shown seated next to each other during a 2021 City Council meeting.

By MADDY VITALE

Ocean City Councilman Tom Rotondi did not concede Tuesday when just 48 votes separated him from his opponent Pete Madden for the third at-large seat in the municipal election.

Rotondi said he would await the final tallies and the official vote totals once all of the mail-in ballots and provisional ballots were received and counted.

“To make up 48 votes will be tough,” Rotondi acknowledged in an interview Wednesday. “But I heard there are 65 provisionals to be counted. No sense conceding until the final count. It’s too close. Stranger things have happened.”

According to the Cape May County Clerk’s Office, all votes must be counted by May 17, and at that time results will be official.

In the election, six candidates vied to fill three at-large seats on the City Council.

In the hotly contested race, Rotondi, a Second Ward councilman running for an at-large seat, received 1,897 votes to finish in fourth place. Madden, an incumbent at-large councilman, garnered 1,945 votes for third place.

Incumbent Councilwoman Karen Bergman was the top vote-getter with 2,267. Tony Polcini, a political newcomer, garnered 1,980 votes for second place. Former First Ward Councilman Michael DeVlieger had 1,709 votes and Donna Moore received 1,502, according to unofficial vote totals from the City Clerk’s Office on Election Night.

Madden, who ran with Bergman and Polcini on a team dubbed “The Big 3,” said in an interview Wednesday that he believes his victory will stand.

“I am confident that when everything is said and done, the results will remain the same,” Madden said.

City employees count the votes on Election Night.

Madden added that he was pleased his team won and that they ran a clean campaign focusing on the issues.

“We put in our best effort to do what we had control over,” he said. “I think the town rallied behind us, and I am looking forward to working together with Council to keep everything moving forward. I just want to get back to work.”

For Rotondi, he will patiently wait for the final vote totals. He also noted that his nearly 50 percent split against Madden for the third Council at-large seat showed that voters heard his message leading up to Election Night.

“Not bad for my first citywide race,” Rotondi said. “I think my vote being as close as it was shows 50 percent of the voter base said my message resonated with them. It shows I have a pretty solid foundation for the future here in Ocean City. I want to continue to defend taxpayers and families, and I will continue to do that in the Second Ward.”

Rotondi said moving forward, his goal will be to protect the zones in town from the Boardwalk to the residential neighborhoods.

“I did call for a revamp of the master plan to look at these zones and it will involve more discussion,” he said. “To me it was a defeat for one day, but a victory to build on in the future.”