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Republican Passaic County Surrogate nominee Aisha Mamkej. (Photo: Passaic County Republican Committee.)

Most Dems still trail in tight Passaic County races

Robinson maintains second place in Somerset County; Vertreese seems to avoid runoff in Hillside

By Joey Fox, November 04 2021 5:27 pm

Three of the four Democrats running for countywide office in Passaic County continue to trail their Republican opponents by tiny margins, while Commissioner Sandi Lazzara has eked into second place in her bid for re-election to the Passaic County Board of Commissioners.

In the race for county surrogate, which is open after incumbent Democrat Bernice Toledo chose not to seek re-election (and now faces criminal charges), Republican Aisha Mamkej leads Democrat Zoila Cassanova 50.1-49.9%, a margin of only 224 votes.

The leader in a six-candidate race for three seats on the board of commissioners is Republican Nicolino Gallo, at 16.99% of the vote. Lazzara is in second at 16.80%, while the two remaining Republicans – Aileen Rivera and William Marsala – are right on her tail with 16.79% and 16.78%.

Two incumbent Democratic commissioners, John Bartlett and Assad Akhter, are bringing up the rear at 16.49% and 16.12%, respectively. The vote differential between Gallo and Akhter – or, in other words, between first and last place – is 2,531 votes.

In Somerset County, meanwhile, the candidates’ positions are largely unchanged from where they were yesterday. Republican Michael Kirsh is in first with 25.3%, and incumbent Democrat Shanel Robinson is taking the other seat at 25.1%. Fellow incumbent Democrat Sara Sooy is currently in third place, and thus locked out of office, with 24.9%, and Republican Amber Murad is in last with 24.7%.

Finally, in the Hillside mayoral election, Mayor Dahlia Vertreese is sitting at 50.7% of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff against Councilwoman Nancy Mondella, who has received 31.7%. Despite Vertreese being the incumbent, Mondella had the support of most local Democratic officials.

Vertreese did have the active support of Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark). 

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