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Belleville Councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke.

Belleville councilwoman re-elected by 105 votes

By David Wildstein, May 15 2020 7:17 pm

Marie Strumolo Burke was re-elected to her council seat in Belleville’s 1st ward, defeating Carmine Mattia, Jr. by 105 votes, 547 to 522.

Her 56%-44% win came after an additional 171 vote-by-mail ballots were returned to the Essex County Board of Elections on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Tuesday, Burke had led Mattia by 76 votes.

Mattia, the business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 827 in Essex County, has the backing of Mayor Michael Melham.

Strumolo Burke ran for mayor in 2014 in a bid marked by allegations that she used a racial slur in a voicemail.

“This is terrible. This is terrible. This is gonna be a (expletive) (N-word) town,” she said in a voicemail message left for Kevin Kennedy, a councilman at the time.

Incumbent Raymond Kimble defeated her by 413 votes that year.  She was re-elected to her council seat in 2016 with 72% of the vote.

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