Democrats Anthony Floria-Callori and Matthew Atlas defeated two Republican councilmembers in North Caldwell, winning seats for their party there for the first time in more than a century.
Floria-Callori leads Republican Councilman John Chiaia by 95 votes, 2,260-2,165. Atlas’s 2,241 votes give him a narrower edge of 76 votes. That puts him less than a point ahead of Chiaia.
Councilwoman Cynthia Santomauro received 2,157 votes.
The victories leave the Republican majority in North Caldwell at a diminished 4-2. If lightning strikes twice, Democrats could have a majority after next year’s races, when seats held by Republican Councilmen Frank Astorino and Robert Kessler come up for a vote.
Democrats’ narrow win marks their first victory in the Essex County borough of about 6,600. Republicans there have consistently won even against strong headwinds from the top of the ticket.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt carried his party to sizeable majorities in both chambers of Congress, Republicans won in North Caldwell. They did so again when President Lyndon B. Johnson won 486 electoral votes in 1964, defeating U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) by more than 20 points in the popular vote.
Even Watergate, the scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon just two years after his 520-7 electoral college win, didn’t budge the Republican majority in North Caldwell.