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Perth Amboy Councilman Helmin Caba

Caba’s slate takes big lead in Perth Amboy

By Nikita Biryukov, December 15 2020 9:11 pm

Perth Amboy Councilman Helmin Caba leads incumbent Mayor Wilda Diaz by 565 votes with roughly nearly 800 votes uncounted.

The challenger has 3,952 votes to Diaz’s 3,387. The tally leaves Diaz with an increasingly narrow path to victory. To erase Caba’s margin, she would have to win more than 80% of remaining ballots.

That count includes most of the 7,526 mail-in ballots Middlesex County Election officials received before today. Only 184 ballots in that batch remain uncounted. Three voters wrote in a candidate for mayor.

About 600 more ballots came in today, cast either through the mail or provisionally at the polls. None of those have been counted, and the Middlesex County Board of Elections will accept late-arriving ballots until 48-hours after the polls close.

Caba’s council running mates, Rose Morales (3,923) and BJ Torres (3,754) lead Bernadette Falcon-Lopez (3,211) and Junior Iglesia (3,280), who ran with Diaz.

Races in Perth Amboy moved to a runoff after no candidate was able to secure a majority in the first round of voting on Nov. 3.

Diaz, who is seeking her fourth term as Perth Amboy mayor, faced four challengers — three of whom hold seats on the city’s council.

Councilman Fernando Irizarry gave up his seat to run for mayor but finished last in the first round of voting, earning just 822 votes. Councilman Joel Pabon Sr. finished fourth with 975 votes, running behind attorney Joe Vas, who is the son of former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas.

Vas got 3,620 votes.

All three of those candidates backed Diaz in the runoff. Pabon and Irizarry endorsed her, while Vas urged supporters against supporting Caba.

Had it come down to the first round of voting, Diaz would have won. She led Caba then by 421 votes, 4,046-4,525.

But her opponents successfully pushed a ballot question requiring a runoff if not candidate won a majority of votes last year.

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