Home>Articles>Lora-backed slate wins easily in Passaic

Passaic Mayor Hector Lora shows his support for his council slate: Maritza Colon-Montañez, Gary Schaer, Thania Melo, and Chaim Munk. (Photo: Hector Lora via Facebook).

Lora-backed slate wins easily in Passaic

Schaer victorious alongside two other incumbents, one former councilwoman

By Joey Fox, May 09 2023 9:07 pm

Passaic Council President Gary Schaer – who is also a prominent member of the New Jersey State Assembly – has easily won re-election to another term on the Passaic City Council, as have his three running mates: Councilwoman Thania Melo, Councilman Chaim Munk, and former Councilwoman Maritza Colon-Montañez.

As of 10:27 p.m. and with 91% of election districts reporting, Schaer was in first place with 21% of the vote, followed by Colon-Montañez with 20% and Melo and Munk with 18%. Their five opponents – Diomedes Minaya, Marko Kopic, Lisa Abreu Wozniak, and Deyanira Pena-Placencia, who all ran on a Minaya-led slate together, as well as unaffiliated candidate Jeffrey Dye – each got around 4.5% of the vote.

The outcome is not an unexpected one, since the winning slate had the support of Mayor Hector Lora, while Minaya and his running mates raised next to no money. Minaya has now run for local office 11 times, usually getting less than 10% of the vote each time.

Schaer’s victory means that he’ll soon begin his eighth term on the council, where he has served without interruption since 1995. He’ll also remain one of New Jersey’s few elected officials who hold two offices at once; he was elected to the Assembly in 2005, shortly before the prohibition on dual officeholding was enacted.

As for Colon-Montanez, the results mark a return to the council more than a decade after she lost re-election in 2011 to none other than Hector Lora. She’ll fill the vacant seat once held by Councilman Salim Patel, who was essentially kicked off the council last summer for missing too many meetings.

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