Republicans have filed a legal challenge to the results of the East Rutherford mayoral election, where Democrat Jeffrey Lahullier was certified as the winner by five votes over GOP 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.
“The Bergen County Republican Organization stands ready to fight to make sure every election shows the full and fair result of the people living in that municipality,” said Bergen County Republican Chairman Jack Zisa.” “As we saw in Westwood last year, due to the Democrats changes in the vote-by-mail laws often times people are mailed ballots to places they no longer reside.”
The court heading has not yet been scheduled.
“I look forward to this process and ensuring that the will of the voters of East Rutherford is fairly heard” said Segalini “I owe this to all those who put their faith into voting for me.”
Segalini is represented by attorney Matthew Gilson.
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.
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.
East Rutherford has had a Republican mayor since 1970, when James Plosia defeated Anthony Cammarata to end a twelve-year stretch of Democratic mayors that began with future Rep. Henry Helstoski in 1958.