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Elmwood Park Councilwoman Lorraine Pellegrine. (Photo: Lorraine Pellegrine).

Elmwood Park councilwoman switches parties

Veteran Democrat Lorraine Pellegrine will seek re-election as a Republican

By David Wildstein, March 13 2023 6:17 pm

A longtime Democratic councilwoman in Elmwood Park who was being denied party support for re-election Is switching parties and will seek re-election as a Republican.

Lorraine Pellegrine said she was told last month that she would not get the line if she ran for re-election.

“I was very disappointed with their decision,” Pellegrine said.  “For 20 years I have worked tirelessly to put the residents of Elmwood Park first and to promote the values of community, kindness, integrity, generosity, respect, and accountability.”

Instead, Pellegrine will run with Robert Colletti, the Republican who defeated her in the 2019 mayoral election by 148 votes, 52%-48%.  Also running on the GOP slate is Pamela Troisi, who lost a council race last year by 19 votes.

“The Republican team values the contributions that I have made to the community and has recognized that my achievements and my passion for our Elmwood Park residents aligns with their values and goals,” she said.  “I am happy that I will be given an opportunity to stand on my record and let the people of Elmwood Park decide if I should continue to be their councilwoman”

This is still less dramatic than the 2019 mayor’s race, when Democratic incumbent Francesco Caramagna resigned as mayor in April after the Bergen County Prosecutor charged him with election tampering.  Since the charges were filed after the filing deadline, Caramagna had no opposition in the Democratic mayoral primary.

After Caramagna’s resignation, the Democratic municipal chairman – Caramagna – picked Pellegrine as the replacement candidate for mayor.  The move triggered the resignation of Councilman Joseph Dombrowski, who had indicated his desire to run for mayor.

The led to Caramagna’s resignation as municipal chair.

Caramagna has since completed a pre-trial intervention program.

Elmwood Park is a swing town with a GOP mayor and a 4-2 Democratic council majority, including Pellegrine.  Jack Ciattarelli carried the borough by four percentage point in 2021, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) won by two percentage points in 2022, and Joe Biden prevailed by eight points in 2020.

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