Home>Highlight>Perth Amboy mayor calls on rival council slate to drop out after bribery charges

Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin Caba. (Photo: City of Perth Amboy).

Perth Amboy mayor calls on rival council slate to drop out after bribery charges

Campaign staffer charged yesterday with offering gift cards for votes

By Joey Fox, October 27 2022 10:10 am

One day after a campaign staffer for Perth Amboy City Council candidate Jeanette Rios was charged with bribery, Perth Amboy Mayor Helmin Caba has released a statement calling on Rios and her council slate to drop out of November’s election.

“One of my administration’s highest priorities is to restore trust and confidence in local government by the people of Perth Amboy, and crimes like the alleged illegal vote buying operation that the Pabon-Rios-Iglesia campaign has engaged in undermine that mission and do great harm to our community,” Caba said.

As detailed by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office yesterday, the staffer, Ana Camilo, allegedly offered voters ShopRite gift cards if they let her fill out their absentee ballots. Camilo was caught on October 17 by an undercover officer investigating a tip.

Rios’ slate, which also includes Councilman Joel Pabon and Junior Iglesia, is one of three slates running for three at-large seats on the council. Another slate, led by Councilwoman Milady Tejeda, is backed by Caba and the Perth Amboy Democratic organization. (Though the election is nonpartisan, majority-Hispanic Perth Amboy is overwhelmingly Democratic.)

Caba. first elected in 2020 over incumbent Mayor Wilda Diaz, said in his statement today that Rios’ slate needs to suspend its campaign in order to guarantee the integrity of the election.

“The Pabon-Rios-Iglesia campaign must immediately suspend its operations, because this is the only way to ensure that this election will be conducted free of voter fraud and that the people of Perth Amboy will be able to have their voices heard without illegal coercion or intimidation,” he said.

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