Republican Daniel Pronti was elected mayor of North Arlington on Tuesday, a few weeks after getting a judge to put him on the ballot following the October 10 death of mayor Joseph Bianchi.
Pronti defeated Democrat Mark Yampaglia by 631 votes, 2,646 to 2,015.
Independent Lillian Saldanha finished third with 313 votes, followed by Albert Granell (127), a former Democratic councilman who ran as an independent.
Pronti and Yampaglia are both councilmen. The local Republican party will now submit three names to the council to find a replacement for Pronti.
Superior Court Estela De La Cruz today ordered new ballots to be printed with Pronti’s name after a legal fight.
The decision came after local Republicans complied with her order to hold an emergency meeting to formally vote on a replacement candidate Bianchi.
De La Cruz ruled yesterday that the North Arlington Republicans never held a meeting to pick a new candidate for mayor but gave them until the next day to select a new candidate.
A state appellate court judge had invalidated Judge Robert Wilson’s order to allow Republicans to switch their candidates. Wilson had accepted North Arlington Republican Municipal Chairman John Bratowicz’s claim that he held a county committee meeting to pick Councilman Dan Pronti as a replacement candidate, rejecting an affidavit from vice chair Barbara Kaiser saying that no meeting was held.
De La Cruz took over the case from Wilson.
Subpoenas were issued to all twenty members of the Republican county committee.
Vote-by-mail ballots had already been mailed, and some voters had already cast their votes using a ballot that had Bianchi’s name. Those voters will be sent a new ballot that will include Pronti’s name.