The Caldwell Council race was too close to call Tuesday night and might not be decided for many days.
With all districts reporting, Republican incumbent Richard Hauser and Democratic candidate Edward Durkin were in the lead for the two open seats on the borough council. Hauser received 1,503 votes and Durkin had 1,500 votes, according to early results posted by the Essex County Clerk.
Republican incumbent Peter Murray was in third place with 1,483 votes and Democratic candidate Susan Vezza was in fourth place with 1,446 votes.
None of the candidates would concede Tuesday night. If Durkin and Hauser emerge the winners, the council will be split between both political parties.
Close to 400 absentee ballots were applied for, according to Republican incumbent Peter Murray, who said Tuesday night the results of the race may not be clear until all votes are counted.
"It's too close to call right now," Murray said. "It's just another Caldwell election," he added. In the last Caldwell Council election, a councilman was unseated by just a handful of votes.
Hauser said if re-elected he would work to find more ways to save the town money, particularly with the employee incentive plan the council recently adopted.
"I can't believe with everyhing Pete and I have accomplished that it's even close," Hauser said from the Ringside Pub in Caldwell Tuesday night.
Durkin, a lifelong Caldwell resident and first-time candidate, said Tuesday he was not celebrating until the results were official.
"I'll celebrate all the hard work," said Durkin from Vezza's home Tuesday night, where friends, family members and supporters awaited results.
Durkin entered the election after a successful write-in campaign during the June primary. His original running mate bowed out of the race over the summer and was replaced by Vezza, a small business owner and longtime borough resident.
"Initially [the Republicans] thought they had an easy race," Durkin said. "They thought they had a pass."
Durkin said he and his running mate went door-to-door campaigning through most of the borough. He said they spoke not just to residents, but business owners, patrons of local businesses and Caldwell College students.
"It's been rewarding getting to know everyone in Caldwell," he said, "anyone who can benefit from Caldwell."
Caldwell Council Early Election ResultsCandidate Votes % R-Richard Hauser* 1503 25.33 R-Peter Murray* 1483 25 D-Edward Durkin 1500 25.28 D-Susan Vezza 1446 24.37 Total 5933 100