The Mountainside Dildogate scandal might be putting two longtime Republican council seats in play. Ileana Montes, a former director of the New Jersey Division on Women, appears to have received enough write-in votes in Tuesday’s primary election to become the Democratic nominee for Borough Council.
Only one Democrat, Anjali Mehrotra, had filed nominating petitions to run before the April filing deadline. If certified as a candidate, Mehotra and Montes would face Republican incumbents Robert Messler and Wendy Fech-Caccamo in the November general election.
The salacious scandal being played out in a lawsuit alleges massive harassment, racism and homophobic slurs by top officials of a 22-member local police department in a time of social media will likely make local elections in this Republican town more competitive in a way that Lyndon Johnson’s landslide or the Watergate scandal could not. This is the kind of issue that everyone in town will be talking about.
Mountainside (pop. 6,685) is one of the last GOP strongholds in Union County. Donald Trump carried it with 56% and Leonard Lance with 63% in 2016. That’s not far off from where the borough was a decade ago, when Lance won 64% and John McCain received 61%. It’s been Republican almost forever: the GOP won borough council seats despite national Democratic wave elections, 1964 and 1974.
Montes served as director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and as president of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey. In 2012, he was a member of the Electoral College.Mountainside Complaint