Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora has a huge lead in his bid for a second term, putting him in a dominant position against two of his longtime foes, Council President Kathy McBride and Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, in the city’s nonpartisan election.
According to numbers from the Mercer County Clerk’s office, Gusciora currently has more than 70% of the vote. Because of a voting machine glitch, vote tabulation in Mercer County has been significantly delayed and many more votes remain to be counted, but Gusciora seems unlikely to relinquish such a large lead.
Gusciora, a former assemblyman, was first elected in 2018. As a white politician who spent much of his career based in Princeton before legislative redistricting forced him to move in 2011, Gusciora was in some ways an odd fit for New Jersey’s majority-minority capital city, but he put together a coalition of Black and white voters to win.
Several members of the council, however, didn’t take kindly to his administration – in particular, McBride and Vaughn.
The two councilwomen have fought repeatedly with Gusciora over the past four years, and have issued a variety of offensive comments along the way; Vaughn calling Gusciora (who is gay) an “old pedophile running around with little boys” and McBride using the phrase “Jew her down” both drew widespread condemnation and unanswered calls for resignation.
Gusciora was able to corral several high profile endorsements in his re-election bid, including from Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton).
With McBride and Vaughn both running for mayor and several other members of the council retiring, six out of the seven seats on the city council were open.
For three at-large council seats, the current leaders are Yazminelly Gonzalez, Crystal Feliciano, and Jasi Edwards, though in a chaotic nine-candidate field, that could change as more votes are counted.
Teska Frisby and Councilman Joe Harrison both hold substantial leads in battles for the West and East Wards, respectively, but it’s still possible they fall below the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. In the South and North Wards, runoffs look likely.