Low turnout in Newark this year allowed three other Essex County cities where a majority of residents are people of color — East Orange, Irvington and Orange — to eclipse the state’s largest city in the 2022 mid-term election.
East Orange, where Democratic State Chairman/Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr. is also the Democratic municipal chairman, produced a 23% voter turnout despite no real competition on the ballot. Irvington’s turnout was 21% and 22% of voters in Orange turned out this fall.
Turnout in Newark was 16%.
Newark’s population is roughly 4 ½ times the size of East Orange, five times the population of Irvington, and has nine times as many residents as Orange.
While the total voter registration in the three smaller cities represents about 42% of Newark’s total electorate, East Orange, Irvington and Orange cast just 1,000 votes less in this year’s races for Congress and County Executive.
Newark cast 22.234 votes for Democratic congressional candidates and 21,601 for DiVincenzo.
East Orange produced 9,953 votes for Rep. Donald Payne (D-Newark) and 9,477 votes for Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. Payne carried East Orange by nearly 93 percentage points, 95.4% to 2.6%, against Republican David Pinckney. DiVincenzo on 95.8% in East Orange, with 9,477 votes.
Irvington delivered 6,592 votes for Payne and 9,477 for DiVincenzo, while Irvington came through with 6,592 votes for Payne and 6,517 for DiVincenzo. In Orange, Payne received 3,936 votes and DiVincenzo got 3,696. In the 28th district special election, State Sen. Renee Burgess (D-Irvington) received 6,483 votes in Irvington, where she had served as council president before succeeding Ronald Rice (D-Newark) in September.
None of the three cities held municipal or school board elections this month.
Newark has struggled to turnout voters in the last two general elections, something that could affect Mayor Ras Baraka’s bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2025 – although Larry Hamm, a Baraka advisor, suggests otherwise.
Last year, Gov. Phil Murphy received 28,820 votes out of Newark, and 23,051 out of East Orange, Irvington and Orange. While the three cities make up 42% of the size of Newark’ electorate, they delivered 80% of the votes Newark did.
Huge turnout numbers allowed three suburban towns – Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange – to deliver almost as many votes for DiVincenzo and Democratic congressional candidates.
East Orange is the state’s 17th largest city and a Democratic stronghold; it’s been 61 years since Richard Nixon carried East Orange against John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. Murphy won 96% of the vote in East Orange and Joe Biden took 95% in 2020.