Home>Campaigns>Joshi crushes Bhagia in Edison; mayors of Atlantic City, Camden, Morristown, Plainfield and Kearny win; Lambertville too close to call

Edison Councilman Sam Joshi. (Photo: Sam Joshi.)

Joshi crushes Bhagia in Edison; mayors of Atlantic City, Camden, Morristown, Plainfield and Kearny win; Lambertville too close to call

Camden Democratic machine reclaims 16 county committee seats in Collingswood; Soriano vs. Barberio rematch in Parsippany

By David Wildstein, June 09 2021 7:19 am

In the contentious Democratic primary for mayor in Edison, Sam Joshi eviscerated Mahesh Bhagia by a 63%-34% margin, with Democratic mayors of Atlantic City, Camden, Morristown, Plainfield and Kearny scoring massive wins in primaries on Tuesday.

Joshi now faces a potential four-way general election against Republican Keith Hahn, with incumbent Thomas Lankey and Councilman Richard Brescher filing as independents.  Lankey attended Joshi’s victory party and may have filed as a precaution in case the scandal-tarred Bhagia won the primary.

A first-term councilman, Joshi led Bhagia by over 1,300 votes in the Election Day machine count, and by over 1,400 in vote-by-mail ballots.  Nearly 45% of all votes were cast by mail.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, Sr. defeated Thomas Foley, a former assemblyman, by an 81%-19% margin.  The mayor won VBMs by 45 votes despite support for Foley from former Council President Craig Callaway, the titular head of the local Democratic organization.

Vic Carstarphen, a local basketball legend who became mayor last month following the resignation of Frank Moran, won by a 64%-23% margin against school board member Elton Custis.  Luis Quinones, a teacher, received 8% and 5% went to City Councilwoman Felisha Reyes-Morton.

In Morristown, Mayor Tim Dougherty won 75% in his bid for a fourth term against Esperanza Porras-Field, a perennial candidate whose endorsement by the local police union propelled her to 25% of the vote.

Longtime Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos crushed rival Sydney Ferreira, 75%-25%.

A comeback bid for David DelVecchio, who served as mayor of Lambertville for 27 years before his defeat three years ago, may be falling short.  Political newcomer Andrew Nowick leads DelVecchio by 42 votes, 678 to 626, in a race that is still too close to call.  The incumbent who ousted DelVecchio, Julia Fahl, is not seeking a second term.

Voters in Parsippany will see a rematch of the 2017 mayoral campaign, with Democrat Michael Soriano facing the two-term incumbent he ousted four years ago, James Barberio.

Barberio defeated former Council President Louis Valori by 262 votes, 53%-47%.  The council race is too close to call, with candidates allied with Barberio and Valori leading in a race for two open Democratic seats.  Valori had run on the organization line.

A four-way Democratic primary for two borough council seats in Red Bank is too close to call.  Councilwoman Kate Triggiano won, but her running mate, Councilman Hazim Yassin, and challenger Jacqueline Sturdivant, are in a race that is too close to call.

In Toms River, there are Republican primaries for four ward council seats with contests.  The most interesting one is in Ward 2, where incumbent Dan Rodrick, who was elected as a Democrat in 2017 but switched parties a year later, is running off the line for renomination against the organization candidate, Jason Crispin.

Three-term Cranford Township Committeeman Thomas Hannen lost party support for re-election and is running off the line against Kate Rappa.  Rappa was endorsed by Murphy.

In Dover, three of four ward members of the Board of Aldermen face challenges in the Democratic primary.  Murphy has taken sides in some of those races.

In Rockaway Township, Councilman Tucker Kelley lost to Rachael Brookes by 100 votes.  Brookes ran on the Morris GOP line.

Toms River Councilman Dan Rodrick won an off-the-line win for his Ward 2 seat, and his running mate, Justin Lamb, ousted incumbent Maria Maruca in Ward 1.  But two other candidates backed by the Ocean County Republican organization won seats.

A slate of county committee candidates backed by the powerful Camden County Democratic machine took back all sixteen seats they lost to a progressive insurgency in 2019.  The organization candidates won 65%-35%.

Mercer County Republican State Committeewoman Ileana Schirmer leads Trenton GOP Municipal Chair Jennifer Williams by just 48 votes with eight districts still uncounted.

In a race for the GOP nomination for Ocean County Board of Commissioners, incumbent Gary Quinn and organization candidate Bobbi Joe Crea defeated Kenneth Seda and Michael Thulen.  If Crea wins the general election – Democrats haven’t won in Ocean since 1989 – she would become just the third woman to win a countywide election in Ocean since 1850.

The venerable 11-term Essex County Sheriff, Armando Fontoura, coasted to victory against primary opponents John Arnold and Barry Jackson.  So did Bergen County Clerk John Hogan, who took 81% of the vote against his 92-year-old opponent, former Englewood Mayor Sondra Greenberg.

Robert Kugler, who faces official misconduct charges and has been relieved of his duties as the Saddle Brook police chief, won the Republican nomination for Bergen County Sheriff.  He defeated 83-year-old Midland Park Mayor Harry Shortway, Jr. by an 82%-18% margin.,

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