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East Rutherford Republican mayoral candidate Sergio Segalini. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

East Rutherford mayoral race headed to court

Judge orders January trial; Democrat leads by six votes

By David Wildstein, December 24 2019 4:16 pm

A Superior Court Judge today set a trial date of January 13 for a challenge to the results of a 2019 mayoral election in East Rutherford.

Democrat Jeffrey Lahullier was certified as the winner by six votes over the Republican candidate, Sergio Segalini.

The GOP says there is evidence that 25 voters who cast ballots in the 2019 election do not reside in the borough, court records show.  They are also seeking to count one vote-by-mail ballot that Republicans claim was improperly excluded.

Judge Estela De La Cruz ordered Bergen County election officials to provide copies of all signatures on voter registration records, poll books, vote-by-mail and provisional ballot envelopes, and voter profiles from statewide registration systems be turned over to the parties  “for investigative purposes only.”

De La Cruz did not order any delay in Lahullier taking the oath of office next month.

The final vote was 854 to 848.

Segalini won the machine vote, 771 to 751.  Lahullier took BVM ballots, 89 to 63.  Both candidates received 14 votes by provisional ballots.

Lahullier is a former Republican councilman who lost renomination in the 2018 GOP primary.  He tried to switch parties and seek re-election as a Democrat, but a judge refused to put him on the ballot.

The longtime Republican mayor, James Cassella, did not seek re-election.

He did not announce his retirement, leaving the GOP without a candidate.  Segalini won the primary as a write-in.

Cassella, 73, has been running for local office in East Rutherford since defeating Diane Lynch by 200 votes to win an unexpired term on the Board of Education in 1980.   He lost a GOP primary for borough council in 1981 and won a seat in 1984. He was elected mayor in 1995, defeating longtime rival Richard DeLauro.


He ran unopposed for re-election in 2015 and was re-elected by a 54%0-28% margin in a three-way race in 2011.

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