With a small number of additional votes tabulated tonight, Republicans have flipped one seat on the Passaic County Commission, but Democrats held the other two seats as well as the office of Passaic County Surrogate.
After trailing on election night, Democratic incumbents Sandi Lazzara and John Barlett now lead the six-candidate field for county commissioner with 52,552 and 51,515 votes, or 17.1% and 16.8%, respectively. Republican Nick Gallo, a Totowa landscaper, is in third with 51,155 and 16.7% of the vote.
Two other Republicans are in a close fourth and fifth: Wayne Councilwoman Lucy Rivera at 50,614 votes and Ringwood Councilman William Marsala at 50,503, both equalling around 16.5% of the vote. Finally, in last place is Democratic Commissioner Assad Akhter, who at 50,416 votes (16.4%) is locked out of office.
In the race for surrogate – an open-seat race thanks to the retirement of Democratic incumbent Bernice Toledo, who faces criminal charges – Democrat Zoila Cassanova has expanded her lead over Republican Aisha Mamkej to nearly 2,000 votes, 52,345 to 50,689. Like the candidates for county commission, Cassanova appeared to be in trouble on election night, but late-counted ballots have tilted strongly in her favor.
Gallo’s victory marks the first time the GOP has won a seat on the county commission since 2009. The party’s losing streak for the surrogate’s office is even longer, as they haven’t won it since 1992.