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Palisades Park Councilman Paul Kim. (Photo: Paul Kim).

Democrats hold on in Palisades Park

Democratic councilman elected mayor, defeating Republican colleague

By Joey Fox, November 09 2022 2:37 am

The New Jersey Globe projects that Democratic Councilman Chong “Paul” Kim has won the mayor’s office in Palisades Park, defeating Republican Councilwoman Stephanie Jang.

As of 2:37 a.m., Kim leads Jang 53%-46% in the Democratic-leaning, heavily Korean American borough.

Kim’s running mates also appear to have won: Democratic school board member Jason Kim (26.0%) and Councilman Michael Vietri (25.5%) lead Republicans Youbong Won-Yoon (24.9%) and Barnabas Woo (23.6%).

The incumbent mayor is Democratic Christopher Chung, but he wasn’t on the general election ballot this year after losing to Kim in the Democratic primary.

Chung himself first got to office in 2018 by unseating Mayor James Rotundo, thus becoming the first Asian American elected mayor in Palisades Park, but the local Democratic organization declined to support him for a second term this year.

Jang, meanwhile, was first elected to the council last year in a surprise result. Palisades Park generally votes for Democrats – it simultaneously voted for Gov. Phil Murphy by nine points in 2021 – but Jang’s victory was a sign that Republicans could still win under certain circumstances. Councilman Jae Park switched to the Republican Party late last month, meaning Democrats have a 4-2 majority.

Two weeks ago, a municipal judge determined there was probable cause to refer an election complaint against Jang from 2020 – an oddly timed decision, given that the complaint was by then almost two years old.

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