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Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura at the Essex County 9-11 Memorial ceremony in West Orange on September 11, 2018. (Photo: New Jersey Globe.)

Fontoura seeking re-election to 11th term as Essex Sheriff

By David Wildstein, January 25 2021 9:37 pm

Armando Fontoura, the longest-serving Sheriff in Essex County history, announced today that he will seek re-election to an 11th term.

Fontoura became sheriff in 1991 after the incumbent, Thomas D’Alessio resigned following his election as Essex County Executive.

In the primary election that year, Fontoura defeated Newark City Council President Ralph Grant.

Republicans had a three-way primary for sheriff between former Newark Police Director Louis Greenleaf, District 5 Freeholder Arthur Clay, and former State Sen. Anthony Imperiale (R-Newark).  Clay won the primary, with Greenleaf, who ran on the Essex GOP organization line, finishing third.

Despite a Republican wave election that flipped control of both houses of the New Jersey Legislature following Gov. Jim Florio’s $2.8 billion tax increase, Fontoura defeated Clay by about 11,000 votes, 55%-45%.

A ten-point victory was Fontoura’s worst showing in his ten campaigns for sheriff.  He was re-elected in 2018 by 146,990 votes, 82%-18% against Republican Pasquale Capozzoli, a Caldwell councilman.

A retired Newark police captain and assistant chief, D’Alessio hired him as undersheriff in 1986.

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