Home>Campaigns>Caba slate wins in Perth Amboy by wide margin

Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin Caba. (Photo: City of Perth Amboy).

Caba slate wins in Perth Amboy by wide margin

Huge victory for mayor, who gets a 5-0 council majority

By Joey Fox and David Wildstein, December 13 2022 8:50 pm

A slate of three City Council candidates backed by Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin Caba prevailed in a runoff election on  Tuesday, giving allies of the first-term mayor a 5-0  majority in an election marred by allegations of buying vote-by-mail ballots.

Councilwoman Milady Tejeda, Kenneth Puccio, and Hailey Cruz, running on the Caba-backed slate, lead incumbent Joel Pabon, and his running mates, Jeanette Rios, and Junior Iglesia by a margin of nearly 2-1.

Cruz is up front with 2,275 votes, followed by Tejada (2,225) and Puccio (2,218).  They lead Pabon (1,337), Pabon (1,323) and Iglesia (1,285).

Perth Amboy’s turnout for the runoff is at 13.5%, not including late arriving VBMs.

A staffer on Rios’ campaign was charged with bribery in late October for offering voters $20 Shop-Rite gift cards in exchange for votes.

Caba and his allies called for the Vote for a Better Tomorrow candidates to drop out, but they stayed in the race, collectively getting 37% of the vote while Tejeda’s slate got 46%.

A third slate led by Councilman William Petrick took enough of the vote in the first round to force a runoff. Petrick and his running mates endorsed the Vote for a Better Tomorrow slate, saying on Facebook that “we need to stop the Mayor from getting absolute power.”

With the support of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, Caba ousted three-term Mayor Wilda Diaz in a 2020 runoff.  Two Caba allied captured city council seats that year as well.

Election results were updated at 9:26 PM. 

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