A longtime county employee will run as a Republican for Passaic County Surrogate, county chairman Peter Murphy announced today.
Aisha Mamkej, a senior election clerk at the Passaic County Clerk’s office and a 28-year county employee, is expected to face Democrat Zoila Cassanova for an open seat.
Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo is not seeking re-election to a third term.
“Aisha Mamkej is a stellar candidate for County Surrogate,” Murphy said. “She has nearly 30 years of experience serving Passaic County residents in official capacity day in and day out, always going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their needs are met. Aisha has my unequivocal support and I look forward to working with her to restore integrity to the Surrogate’s office.”
Mamkej entered the race with the endorsement of State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa), who served as county clerk for eight years.
“I had the privilege of seeing Aisha in action every day in the Clerk’s office,” said Corrado. “Her commitment to assisting members of the public, professionalism, and attention to detail are all attributes that will serve her well as our Surrogate.”
The new Republican candidate faces an uphill battle in a county that has not elected a Republican since Corrado was re-elected by 944 votes in 2014.
Passaic County has 63,931 more Democrats than Republicans. In the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden carried the county by 37,088 votes, 58%-41%.
Republicans have not won a Passaic County Surrogate race since 1992, when Rosalie Masarie ousted incumbent William J. Bate. Bate came back and unseated Masarie in a 1997 rematch.
In 1977, Wayne Planning Board Chairman Leonard Talerico defeated former Assemblyman William Hicks (D-Paterson) after GOP incumbent James Ward declined to seek re-election.
When Talerico sought a second term in 1982, he lost 61%-39% to Bate, a former state senator and assemblyman from Clifton. Bate died in 2011 and was succeeded by Toledo.