Home>Campaigns>It’s Election Day in New Jersey, again

It’s Election Day in New Jersey, again

By David Wildstein, December 15 2020 10:26 am

Norman Rockwell, Election Day, 1944. Photo: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.)

Today is Election Day in New Jersey, again.

In Perth Amboy, a runoff election will decide if voters want Wilda Diaz to get a fourth term as mayor and will fill two city council seats.

The New Jersey Republican State Committee will hold a special election for GOP State Chairman, where Bob Hugin and Michael Lavery are competing for a six-month unexpired term.

Diaz faces Helmin Caba, a city councilman and Perth Amboy Democratic municipal chairman.

The runoff is being conducted primarily through vote-by-mail ballots, with three secure ballot drop boxes and five polling locations open for in-person provisional voting.  Machines are only for voters requiring special assistance.  Voters may hand-deliver their VBM ballots to their polling place.

Ballots postmarked by 8 PM today will be counted if they arrive at the Middlesex County Board of Elections office by close of business on Thursday.

The first Latina mayor of a major New Jersey city led Caba by 421 votes, 33%-30%, in the November 3 non-partisan election.  She has the backing of all three losing candidates in last month’s election.

Attorney Joseph B. Vas, who finished third with 24% of the vote, issued a statement asking his supporters to vote against Caba.  Another councilman, Joel Pabon, Sr., has also endorsed Diaz.  Pabon received 6.5% and Irizarry won 5.5%.

In the race for two open city council seats, Diaz running mates Junior Iglesia and Bernadette Falcon-Lopez face Rose Morales and Bienvenido “BJ” Torres, who are running with Caba.

Iglesia finished first in last month’s election, followed by Morales and Falcon-Lopez.  Torres took the final runoff slot by 201 votes against Vanessa Bermudez, who ran on Vas’ ticket.

State Chairman

The Republican state chairman election comes five days after Doug Steinhardt resigned to seek the 2021 GOP nomination for governor.

Lavery, a former Hackettstown mayor who served as state chairman in 2017, is a close Steinhardt ally.

Bob Hugin, the 2018 GOP U.S. Senate candidate, entered the race on Monday.  He has got the backing of Steinhardt’s primary opponent, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli.

A New Jersey Globe tally of 42 state committee members has Lavery ahead, 24 to 16, with two votes that could not be immediately determined.

If the full state committee attends tonight’s meeting, it will take 22 votes to win the race.

The winner will serve until the newly elected state committee reorganizes after the June 2021 primary.  By tradition, the winner of the gubernatorial primary will pick the new state chair.

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