Two council incumbents have taken slim leads in local Paterson races being rerun because of a tie and alleged mail-in fraud that spurred criminal charge against a candidate and sitting councilman.
In the city’s Third Ward Council race, incumbent Bill McKoy holds a 144-vote lead over Alex Mendez, leading the challenger 43%-41%.
Mendez and First Ward Councilman Michael Jackson faced voter fraud charges related to alleged mail-in ballot fraud after the city’s non-partisan municipal elections in May.
Mendez faced charges of fraud in casting mail-in votes, unauthorized possession of ballots, tampering with public records, and falsifying or tampering with records. He was also charged with election fraud and false registration.
The challenger won that race by 240 votes, but Judge Ernest Caposela ordered new elections be held in the Second and Third Wards. The judge refused to allow Mendez to be seated.
Three other candidates ran in the Third Ward. Sharrief Bugg finished third with 630 votes. Robyn Spencer is in fourth place with 401 votes, while Chauncey Brown got last place with 188 votes.
McKoy has 3,193 votes, while Mendez had 3,049.
In the Second Ward, Councilman Shahin Khalique leads challenger Mohamed Akhtaruzzaman by 78 votes, 31%-30%.
The race between Khalique and Akhtaruzzaman ended in a tie in May.
Three others ran in the Second Ward, too. Challenger Eddie Gonzalez received 1,354 votes there, while Sonia Deliz got 928 and Frank Fillippelli got 851.
Khalique has 2,502 votes, while Akhtaruzzaman has 2,424.