The temperature in the Republican primary for Elmwood Park mayor got turned up a few degrees over the weekend, largely thanks to the local Democrats.
The wife of former Mayor Francesco Caramagna, who resigned five weeks ago after being charged with election tampering, has entered the fray with a letter bitterly attacking one of the GOP mayoral candidates, former Councilwoman Magdalena Giandomenico.
Caramagna essentially endorsed former Mayor Robert Colletti in Tuesday’s primary against Giandomenico.
“Many people in Elmwood Park believe that since my husband could not be defeated due to the progress made during his short tenure, the only way to do so would be to force his resignation,” Vittoria Caramagna said, noting that it was the Republican municipal chairman who essentially turned her husband in.
She also pushed back on Giandomenico’s criticism that the Elmwood Park Democratic organization, which her husband still chairs, submitted her name as well as her son-in-law, as two of the three candidates to fill a vacancy on the council.
Caramagna said that her husband has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought by the Bergen County Prosecutor.
“I remind Ms. Giandomenico and her running mates that he is presumed innocent,” Caramagna wrote. “I remind our friends and neighbors that a candidate who would stoop to attacking the family ad colleagues of a public servant in this manner provides us with insight into how she would serve the Township of Elmwood Park.”
Francesco Caramagna remains on the ballot unopposed in the Democratic primary for mayor. He is widely expected to drop out of the race so that Democrats can name a replacement candidate.
A Giandomenico mailer that arrived at households last week criticizing Councilman Joe Dombrowski for initially announcing that he would not seek re-election due to time commitments and then changing his mind.
This follows statements by Colletti that he has more time to spend as mayor than Giandomenico, a working mother with a full-time job. After the comment backfired, Colletti said it was taken out of context and apologized.
Democrats called Giandomenico’s mailing hypocritical, since her campaign is now questioning Dombrowski’s ability to serve because he travels on business.
Dombrowski told the New Jersey Globe that he’s been on the council for more than five years and finds Giandomenico’s statement hypocritical because they both have full-time jobs. Giandomenico is the borough clerk in Park Ridge.
This story was updated at 10:25 AM on Monday to include comment from Dombrowski.