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Despite His Protests, He’s Elected Mayor

November 5, 1987

ROOSEVELT, N.J. (AP) _ Leon Barth told anyone he could find he did not want to run for mayor, and even walked around town taking down posters supporters had put up to tout him for office.

But Barth lost out: He won Tuesday’s election. He didn’t even vote for himself.

He was chosen mayor of the Monmouth County town of 865 as a write-in candidate, defeating Councilman Ed Moser, who thought he was running unopposed, by 20 votes of 300 cast.

Barth is returning to office after a four-year lapse. He served two previous terms.

″I guess I left too much of a crack in the door and it flooded,″ said the 58-year-old head of the laboratory at Princeton University’s School of Architecture.

Barth, a resident here for 27 years, said Wednesday he didn’t learn of his candidacy until Monday, when well-wishers approached him on the street to thank him for his unknowing return to politics.

One of his prime supporters, Mary Alfare, said she only began to tout Barth three days before the election as a show of protest against what she called an unresponsive city hall. Others quickly joined her.

″When I started this, I never thought he would win,″ she said.

Barth, like Moser a Democrat, said that although he had tired of office, he looks forward to returning to city hall, especially after the show of support.

″The town has told me in no uncertain tems it wants me to be its mayor and I can’t think of anything else to do but serve,″ he said. ″If I decline, it will necessitate another election, and that would be very costly.

″Yet, on the other hand, there’s a tremendous sense of gratification, knowing this is what your fellow citizens think of you. I never realized those feelings were out there.″

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