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Polls are open in Jersey City, Hillside

By David Wildstein, December 07 2021 8:53 am

Good morning, New Jersey.  It’s Election Day in New Jersey, again.

The polls are now open in Jersey City Ward C and in Hillside, where voters will go to the polls for runoff elections to decide council races where no candidate received the required 50% of the vote in the November 2 general election.

In Jersey City Ward C, colorful two-term Councilman Richard Boggiano faces Kevin Bing, the former president of the Journal Square Community Association.

A Jersey City police officer for 37 years, this is Boggiano’s third runoff.  He won 56% against incumbent Nidia Lopez in 2013, and 60% against John Hanussak in 2017 after leading 43%-28% on Election Day.

The 2017 runoff attracted 2,804 votes, about 12% turnout from all registered voters.  That was a 37% drop from the 4,226 votes cast in the November general election for Ward C council candidates.  Turnout in the Ward C council race last month was 21.4%.  That represented a 19% drop off from the 26% turnout in the gubernatorial contest.

Ward C has added 90 new voters to the rolls since November 2, and nine additional voters turned 18 since the last election and are eligible to vote in the runoff.

The race will determine whether Mayor Steven Fulop has six or seven votes on the city council when he begins his third term on January 1.  While Boggiano had been a sometimes critic of the mayor, he ran on Fulop’s slate this year.

Boggiano was the top vote-getter with 2,385 votes (44.7%).  Bing received 1,473 (29.7%), and Tom Zuppa finished third with 1,309 (26.4%).  Zuppa has endorsed Boggiano.

Six candidates for three at-large township council will face off in the Hillside runoff: incumbents Craig Epps and George Cook and newcomers Lisa Bonnano, Robert Rios, Renee Howard and Armando Guerra.

Nine candidates ran for the three seats after a trio of mayoral candidates assembled full tickets.

Bonnano (2,28), Epps (2,272) and Rios (2,208) — all three ran on a slate headed by Mayor Dahlia Vertreese, led the voting on November 2.  The three candidates allied with mayoral candidate Nancy Mondella — Cook (1,598), Howard (1,485) and Guerra (1.466),

Three other candidates who ran with Andrea Hyatt — Sip Whitaker (819), Yolanda Rivera-Ziyad (751) and Patricia Brown (749) — ran far behind but can any candidate from avoiding a runoff.

Mondella gave up her council seat to run for mayor.

Vertreese just narrowly avoided a runoff, winning 50.7% of the vote against Mondella (31.7%) and Hyatt (17.4%).

This story was updated at 11:40 AM. 

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