Teaneck Deputy Mayor Mark Schwartz and his running mates defeated a slate of progressive council candidates Tuesday, ensuring that a relative status quo will continue to reign in the town of roughly 40,000.
Schwartz, Michael Pagan, a former Frank Lautenberg Staffer who now handles communications for Bergen County, and Karen Orgen, a former Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps president, ran on the “Moving Teaneck Forward” ticket, which has the backing of Teaneck Councilman Elie Katz, who previously served as the township’s mayor.
They defeated Board of Education President Ardie Walser, planning board member Denise Belcher and Democratic county committeewoman Gina Gerszberg, who ran on the “People for Progress” slate.
Pagan received 4,518 votes, while Orgen got 4,483, and Schwartz got 4,486.
Their challengers failed to break the 4,000-vote mark, with Belcher coming the closest with 3,919 votes. Walser received 3,823 votes, and Gerszberg got 3,842
Turnout was up despite a pandemic that has shuttered most businesses and largely confined residents to their homes.
By Monday, 7,739 residents had returned their vote-by-mail ballots. That figure was higher than turnout in Teaneck’s 2016 and 2018 municipal elections and may mean the state’s first all-vote-by-mail elections have successfully boosted turnout in at least on New Jersey town.
Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin and Councilman Henry Pruitt did not seek re-election. Hameeduddin endorsed the Schwartz slate.