Upset about the way his town was being run, Vito Perillo decided to run for mayor at age 93 and won — beating out the 63-year-old incumbent.
A World War II Navy veteran and resident of Tinton Falls, N.J., Perillo said he decided to run after two recent lawsuits involving the borough’s police department cost the town a reported $1.1 million. He fought hard on the campaign trail and said that he wore out two pairs of shoes by going door-to-door campaigning, according to the Asbury Park Press.
“I've been a fighter all my life. At 13, I was fighting for my family's next meal, shining shoes on street corners in the Bronx. By 17, I was fighting in the ring as an amateur boxer, with a dream of making it to prime time. That dream was cut short at 19 when I was fighting for my country in the South Pacific. I have always fought for what I believe in, and now I want to fight for the citizens of Tinton Falls as mayor," he said.
And he’s already getting to work. In a video from the Associated Press, Perillo is heard working the phones, introducing himself as the mayor-elect. He went on to say, “I don’t think of 93 as being old.”
Just before the polls opened on Tuesday, he posted on Facebook: “Win or Lose today, I feel so thankful for the tremendous support I have received and the life-long connections I have made on the campaign trail with other residents of our town.”
Following his Tuesday victory — achieved by winning 53 percent of the vote — he posted on Facebook: “We took the first step in creating a new and inclusive form of government in Tinton Falls.” He went on to say, “Tonight transparency, accountability and community empowerment won out, and I can’t wait to get started working as hard as I can for all of the great residents of this town!”
Perillo was elected to a four-year term, meaning he’ll be 97 when he’ll have to decide whether to run again, or return to retirement.