The campaign headquarters of a team of Board of Education candidates already feels like a party.
Shrimp cocktail, multicolored tortellini salad, sushi and sandwiches are arrayed on a desk. Well wishers drop by to offer messages of good luck. Candidates on telephones make sure volunteers are in place at polling places to collect vote totals.
Gary Martin, Sharif Shamsudin and Susy Golderer are running together in hopes of winning the three open seats on the Parsippany Board of Education. All day they have operated from Shamsudin's real estate office, making calls to citizens urging them to get out and vote.
Now, there are mere minutes before the polls close.
Current board member Michael Strumolo, an open supporter of the Martin-Shamsudin-Golderer ticket, said it is time for a change on the BOE.
"There is a disconnect between the voting public and the board. There is disrespect to people from the board. It's damaged the board's credibility," he said. "Parsippany is looking for a change, a shift in gears. This team will be more respectful of the voting people."
Martin agreed, and he felt confident that his ticket will be victorious.
"I have faith in the American ticket," he said.
Shamsudin shares that confidence.
"You have to have confidence—in life, business, even sports," he said. "Without confidence, you won't go anywhere."
Golderer is thinking to the future.
"If we are lucky enough to be elected," she said, "I can only hope to do the best job I can do for the taxpayers of Parsippany."