Incumbent Mayor Jimmy Davis leads Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski in the closely watched campaign for Bayonne mayor, but it’s still possible outstanding ballots could push Davis below the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
Davis currently has 4,863 votes to Ashe-Nadrowski’s 4,084, a 51-43% margin. A minor third candidate, Mitchell Brown, has 616 votes and 6% of the vote. That’s a solid position for Davis to be in, but with around 260 provisional ballots left to count and an unknown number of vote-by-mail ballots that could arrive, it’s too early to definitively say the mayor has won a third term.
Though Davis has claimed victory, Ashe-Nadrowski has not condeded.
The five members of Davis’ council slate are leading their races as well, though some outcomes are also dependent on outstanding ballots.
One Davis ally, 3rd Ward Councilman Gary LaPelusa, crushed Ashe-Nadrowski running mate Maria Valado 63-25%, with unaffiliated candidate Peter Franco getting 13% of the vote. Retired police officer Loyad Booker also seems to be secure for a seat on the council, winning 25% of the vote in a six-way race for two at-large seats – a victory that will make him Bayonne’s first-ever Black councilman.
Booker’s fellow at-large candidate, Councilman Juan Perez, has a narrower lead for the second seat with 21% of the vote; Ashe-Nadrowski running mates Jodi Casais and “KT” Kim Torello have 20% and 16%, respectively; and two independent candidates, Dennis Wilbeck and Carissa Lintao, have 15% and 3%.
In the 1st Ward, Team Davis Councilman Neil Carroll leads Julie Sanchez Lynch 59-41%, and in the 2nd Ward, Davis endorsee Jacqueline Weimmer has a 54-46% lead over George Vinc.
Davis was first elected mayor in 2014, defeating incumbent Mark Smith in an extremely close 51-49% runoff election. On his ticket that year was none other than Ashe-Nadrowski, who won one of two at-large seats and quickly became council president.
Both Davis and Ashe-Nadrowski were re-elected in 2018, with Davis beating former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-Bayonne), who was later caught up in a bribery scandal. But in spring 2021, relations between the two allies seemingly broke down, and Davis reportedly began to consider kicking Ashe-Nadrowski and Councilman Sal Gullace off his ticket in 2022. (Davis denied the reports.)
Ashe-Nadrowski beat Davis to the punch and launched a mayoral bid in December 2021, later unveiling her full slate of newcomer council candidates. Davis, who did indeed boot Gullace from his ticket, formally kicked off his own bid in January alongside three council incumbents and two new replacements for Ashe-Nadrowski and Gullace.
The race turned into a slugfest of endorsements and fundraising, with some key policy differences on issues of development. Davis had much of the Hudson County establishment in his corner, including both the county Democratic and Republican parties; Ashe-Nadrowski had the backing of the Jersey Journal; and both candidates received notable endorsements from various unions.
Davis also significantly outraised his challenger, pulling in a total of $483,112 compared to just $63,304 for Ashe-Nadrowski.
Assuming Davis does indeed avoid a runoff, there’s one politician in particular who can breathe a sigh of relief: Assemblyman William Sampson (D-Bayonne), whose Assembly victory in 2021 was entirely predicated on Davis deciding to drop Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne) from the party line. If Ashe-Nadrowski were to come from behind and win, she may look for someone else to replace Sampson, a union longshoreman and the youngest member of the legislature.