Home>Campaigns>Eliminated Democrat in Manchester mayoral race slams incumbent mayor

Former Manchester mayoral candidate Ken Seda. (Photo: Ken Seda via Facebook).

Eliminated Democrat in Manchester mayoral race slams incumbent mayor

Ken Seda, who finished 3rd in November, encourages Dems to vote in runoff

By Joey Fox, December 09 2022 11:27 am

Next Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election in Manchester, a solid-red Ocean County township of 45,115 people, is a fight between two fractious wings of the Republican Party. It is Democratic voters, however, who may play a decisive role in electing the next mayor, and an eliminated Democratic mayoral contender has waded into the runoff election with a statement blasting incumbent Mayor Robert Hudak.

In the first round of voting, Hudak got 44% of the vote, while challenger Robert Arace got 31%; the race was officially nonpartisan, but both are Republicans. Finishing in last place with 25% was Democrat Ken Seda.

Seda and his council running mates haven’t made an endorsement in the runoff, but they’ve heavily criticized Hudak’s time as mayor and said “it’s clear … that Manchester voted for change.”

“The current mayor failed in his responsibilities to our citizens,” Seda said yesterday. “He failed in his attempt to provide adequate cell phone service, raised our taxes four years in a row, and refused to protect seniors in manufactured home communities from out-of-control land lease increases.”

If the statement is interpreted as a tacit endorsement of Arace, that would put Seda and Democrats on the same side as Ocean County GOP chairman George Gilmore, a controversial figure who won back his party’s top leadership spot this summer after being convicted (and later pardoned) on federal tax charges three years ago. Hudak, meanwhile, is an ally of Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy, who narrowly lost the chair race to Gilmore. 

Hudak and Arace have already faced off once before, in a November 2021 special election for the mayor’s office; Hudak won that contest 56%-43%. Given his lead in the first round last month, Hudak may have the advantage once again this year, but that could change if Democratic voters follow Seda’s lead.

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