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Oakland Councilman John McCann. (Photo: John McCann).

McCann wins GOP primary in Oakland

Ex-House candidate seeking borough council seat

By David Wildstein, June 16 2022 3:43 pm

Former GOP congressional candidate John McCann has won the Republican nomination for Oakland Borough Council after a close primary where two of the candidates see-sawed for more than a week.

McCann, who sought the seat of Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in 2018 and 2020, finished the primary with 343 votes.  His running mate, incumbent Kevin Slasinski, defeated off-the-line challenger Carol Ann Rose by two votes, 336 to 334.  Kerri Sirinides, who ran with Rose, is locked in fourth place with 319.

The Oakland contest rekindled a fight between McCann and Frank Pallotta that began when the two ran against each other in the 2020  GOP congressional primary in New Jersey’s 5th district.  Pallotta endorsed Rose and Sirinides, who mounted off-the-line runs for the two Oakland council seats.

Appointed to fill a vacant seat on the council two weeks before the primary, McCann had already secured the organization line to run with Slasinski.

Rose had led on election night with 293 votes, followed by McCann (292), Slasinski (288) and Sirinides (285).  By Monday, McCann had taken a six-vote lead with 336, with Slasinski and Rose tied at 330 votes each.

A Cresskill councilman from 2000 to 2006, McCann defeated former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan in the 2018 Republican primary for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district by a 53%-47% margin, but he lost the general election to freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) by fourteen percentage point.

McCann sought a rematch with Gottheimer in 2020 but lost the GOP primary by 19 points to Pallotta.

Oakland is a reliably Republican municipality that backed Donald Trump for president in 2020 and gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli in 2021.  But the three-term mayor, Linda Schwager, is a Democrat.

The winners of the primary will face Democrats Andrea Levy and Jo-Ann Ashkenazi.

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