Jasi Edwards, Crystal Feliciano, and Yazminelly Gonzalez have easily won three at-large seats on the Trenton City Council, defeating three other candidates in the runoff for an election that initially came before voters more than two months ago.
As of 11:14 p.m. and with 100% of election districts reporting, Edwards was in first place with 23.8% of the vote, followed by Feliciano with 22.3% and Gonzalez with 22.1% in the nonpartisan race. Finishing behind the three winners were Taiwanda Terry-Wilson (12.1%), former Councilman Alex Bethea (10.6%), and Kadja Manuel (9.2%)
3,215 ballots have been cast, representing just 8.4% of the city’s registered voters, though that number will tick up slightly when the remaining few mail and provisional votes are counted.
Edwards, Feliciano, and Gonzalez had run separately in the first round, but upon reaching the runoff as the top three finishers, they aligned under the Moving Trenton Forward Together banner. Their slate, which was not reflected on the ballot itself, was supported by Mayor Reed Gusciora, who won re-election to a second term last year in a landslide.
Bethea, Terry-Wilson, and Manuel also organized into a joint slate after the election, but they were unable to draw the same level of established support as their opponents.
Once the winning trio is seated, the Trenton City Council will finally be at full strength after several months of problems and delays.
In November’s general election, a voting machine glitch caused massive delays in the reporting of votes across Mercer County. That meant most of the city’s races had no clear victor until weeks after Election Day.
Once the votes were fully counted, Trenton City Clerk Brandon Garcia certified Gonzalez, Feliciano, and Edwards as the outright winners in the at-large race, because according to his calculations Gonzalez had passed the requisite threshold for victory of 50% +1 of all ballots cast. But he made an error in failing to calculate how many voters voted for only one or two candidates instead of three, meaning that Gonzalez had not in fact cleared the threshold.
By the time a judge ordered a runoff to be held after all, it was too late to hold it alongside two ward-based runoffs, which were scheduled for December 13. Instead, the election was set for today – a full 77 days after voters first cast ballots in the at-large race.
In the meantime, North and South Ward runoff voters narrowly elected Jennifer Williams and Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg, bringing the council to a bare four-member quorum before the reorganization of government on January 1.
Trenton’s local government has been among the state’s most dysfunctional for the last four years, featuring frequent fights between the mayor and the council as well as offensive remarks from several councilmembers. But given that Gusciora-friendly candidates will soon hold all seven seats on the council, those days of rancor may be over, at least for now.
This story was updated at 11:14 p.m. with updated results.