The oldest U.S. mayor is 97, a Jersey guy — and running again
Mayor Vito Perillo really doesn’t like talking about his age. That’s because he believes his age has nothing to do with how well he does his job as mayor of the Monmouth County town of Tinton Falls. After all, his political career is just beginning, and he’s only 97.
Perillo shocked residents of the town and, in fact, all of New Jersey when he successfully ran for mayor of Tinton Falls at the ripe old age of 93. He surprised everyone further when he beat the incumbent, Gerald Turning, then 63, who, wisely did not make an issue of Perillo’s age.
That certainly would’ve been political suicide whichever way the election went.
According to an article in the the Asbury Park Press, Perillo, a World War II veteran, started to get interested in politics when he saw the never ending increase in his taxes, which the article says he had documented by saving every one of his tax bills since 1980.
He decided to do something about it.
He enlisted family and friends to help him with the campaign and proceeded to ring doorbells to garner support for his campaign, the old-fashioned way. The article also says his daughter served as a spokesperson and his neighbor his campaign manager.
Boonville Kentucky’s mayor Charles Long was 99 when he passed away a few years ago. And although there are no official records kept of mayor’s ages, it’s widely assumed that Perillo is now the oldest man standing when it comes to U.S. Mayors.
Vito Perillo is being challenged, though, in a hotly contested election.
Councilman Brock Siebert, 40, a retired school teacher; volunteer Ellen J. Goldberg, 59; and Michael S. Miles, 43, are the 3 challengers looking to unseat him.
Honestly, I don’t care about the political record of any of these three challengers. I don’t care if they are more well-suited for the job, or even if their political views align more closely with mine. If I live in Tinton Falls, Perillo gets my vote.
Just because I want to see if he can win again in ‘25. After all, he’ll only be 101, then ... and probably at the pinnacle of his political career.
Here's a political video of his from last election:
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.