The race to watch in Belleville is in the 1st Ward, where often-controversial incumbent Marie Strumolo Burke faces a challenge from Carmine A. Mattia, Jr., the business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 827 in Essex County.
Mattia has the backing of Mayor Michael Melham.
Strumolo Burke, who was re-elected to her council seat with 72% of the vote in 2016, but the turnout model has changed considerably.
Turnout is up 76% from 2016, but the biggest increases are coming from outside the incumbent’s political base of the 1st Ward, districts 1 and 2. Turnout is up 23% in 1-1 and 7% in 1-2, but in the area of Belleville where Mattia is expected to do well, turnout is up 101% in 1-3, 98%- in 1-4, 185% in 1-5, and 109% in 1-6.
Strumolo Burke ran for mayor in 2014 in a bid marked by allegations that she used a racial slur in a voicemail.
Incumbents Steven Rovell (2nd Ward) and John Notari (4th Ward) face easier re-election campaigns. Deputy Mayor Vincent Cozzarelli (3rd Ward) is unopposed.