Roseland elected a Democratic mayor on Tuesday, with James Spango defeating Republican Michael Pacio by 171 votes, 1,075 to 904 (39%-33%)
Independent Laura Struss LaBianca finished third with795 votes (29%).
Roseland attracted statewide attention last spring when two high-profile local residents, former Gov. Richard Codey and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo ran competing county committee slates to take control of the local Democratic organization. DiVincenzo beat Codey 8-4.
DiVincenzo became heavily invested in taking control of Roseland in the local election, where the Republican mayor and councilmen did not seek re-election. The GOP was sharply divided after a bruising primary saw the local Republican organization candidates defeated. A slate of independents allied with a Republican faction were also in the race.
Spango is the deputy chief of the Essex County Sheriff’s department and the scion of a prominent Essex County Democratic family.
Pacio, who served as a Republican councilman in the 1980’s before getting elected mayor as a Democrat. He has now switched back.
Democrats Roger Freda (1,063) and Eileen Fishman (1,017) captured two open council seats. They defeated Republicans John Derites (930), a former councilman, and Patricia Braga (857), and independents Joseph Shern (784) and Robyn Cassidy (767).
Republicans had a 5-1 council majority; now it is 3-3.
Freda, who came within 43 votes of winning last year, and Fishman won 49% in a 2003 special election for Essex County Freeholder.