Democrat Robert “Bob” Uhrik led Independent candidate Thomas Bremner by just 16 votes the day after the election. At that time, the Somerset County clerk still had 79 absentee and six provisional votes to count, so it was too soon to declare a winner, according to Rocky Hill Councilman and Mayor Elect Uhrik.
Above: Rocky Hill Borough mayor elect Bob Uhrik with his wife Eileen. Photo by Frank Veronsky.
Uhrik became the clear winner — his lead increasing to 44 votes — once the county clerk’s office got caught up. With more than 20,000 Somerset County absentee ballots to count, the clerk’s office had to get a judge’s order to take extra time to count them all.
Nevertheless, Uhrik said it was “good there was a contest.”
In a small borough such as Rocky Hill, which only has about 600 residents, it is sometimes difficult to field enough candidates for the five-member town council plus a mayor.
As it turns out, Uhrik and Bremner, who is president of the Rocky Hill First Aid Squad, attend the same church — Trinity Episcopal Church of Rocky Hill.
“This tempers things,” Uhrik says. “We are not going to be trashing each other while under the eyes of God! We’d end up in purgatory.”
Uhrik is a borough councilman, re-elected to a three-year-term in 2017. He will resign in order to assume the position of mayor, which will leave a void on the Borough Council as of January.
He is senior environmental health specialist for the South Brunswick Health Department, where he has worked since 1981. He is a past president of the New Jersey Environmental Health Association; and a technical advisor on Radon / Radiation. He moved to Rocky Hill about 16 years ago. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from Rutgers. Incidentally, he is a certified “Community Noise Enforcement” agent according to his LinkedIn page.
Uhrik is married to former Rocky Hill Councilwoman Eileen Uhrik and they have a daughter, Rebecca, who is a student at Stockton State University.
Bremner, who has previously served as a Rocky Hill borough councilman and as council president, was disapointed in the final outcome. But, he said, “it was humbling that I received so vote votes. I would like to thank all the people who voted for me.”
“Bob is a great guy,” Bremner said. “He will work very hard for residents of Rocky Hill. We are fortunate to have him.”
In addition to the race for mayor, two new council members were elected in an non-contested race.
Independent candidate Connie Hall received 247 votes and Independent canidated Irene Battaglia received 259 votes.
Battaglia currently serves on Rocky Hill borough council. She previously served on the Rocky Hill Planning Board for about three years. She lives with her husband, Devon, who is employed by the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, and their two children, Aldon, 8, who is in the third grade, and Claire, 5, who is in kindergarten.
Hallman, a social worker, has lived in Rocky Hill for 20 years. She served on Rocky Hill borough council for two terms, from 2003 to 2005 and again from 2013 to 2015. Her husband, Rutgers professor William Hallman, has also served on borough council in the past. They have raised three children: William, Stewart, and Eileen (who painted the bright blue “Rocky Hill Rock” behind borough hall). ■