Home>Feature Left>Rodriguez slate sweeps West New York as Roque loses re-election

West New York Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Rodriguez slate sweeps West New York as Roque loses re-election

Gabriel Rodriguez likely to be next mayor

By David Wildstein and Nikita Biryukov, May 14 2019 8:58 pm

West New York mayor Felix Roque was defeated in his bid for a third term against a slate of candidates headed by commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez that had the strong support of Rep. Albio Sires.

Three of the incumbent commissioners – Cosmo Cirillo, Margarita Guzman and Rodriguez – split from Roque last year after running with him in 2015 and formed the “New Beginnings West New York” slate.

Rodriguez is expected to become mayor when the town commission reorganizes on July 1.

Cirillo was the top vote-getter with 3,616 votes, followed by Rodriguez (3,602), Guzman (3,502), Victor Barrera (3,424) and Yoleisy Yanez (3,373).

Roque finished fifth with 2,717 votes, 656 votes behind Yanez.

Head to head, Rodriguez carried 28 of 30 voting districts in West New York against Roque.

Incumbent Susan Colacurcio, who ran with Roque, received 2,606 votes, followed by the mayor’s other three running mates: Maite Fernandez (2,510), Richard Acosta (2,502) and Ana Luna (2,496).

Adil Ahmed finished eleventh in the race with 631 votes, followed by Anthony Valdes (247), Ronald Scheurle (239), Manuel Andujar, Jr. (204) and Armando Galis-Menendez (167).

The Cuban-born Roque, a local physician and retired U.S. Army colonel, defeated incumbent Sal Vega in 2011.

Roque was part of the Hudson County Democratic Warette of 2018, backing an unsuccessful move to withdraw party support for the 2019 re-election of Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise.

In retaliation, Rodriguez, Cirillo and Guzman – all DeGise supporters – dumped Roque ally Colacurcio from her post as director of Revenue and Finance and moved to the less influential post as director of Public Works.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, one of the leaders of the Dump DeGise movement, had also threatened a 2018 primary challenge against Sires.  That led to a Sires taking a hands-on approach to local politics.

In the June primary, the Sires faction of the West New York Democratic Party swept 48 contested races for county committee seats against a slate backed by Roque.  West New York strongly supported Amy DeGise in her bid to become Hudson County Democratic chair.

Democratic Municipal Chairman Jonathan Castañeda, who had been Roque’s chief of staff before flipping to Sires, was re-elected municipal chairman by a 50-2 vote.

Castañeda, now the chief of staff to the director of the Hudson County Correctional Facility, ran the New Beginnings West New York campaign.

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