One of the top races to watch on Tuesday is in Perth Amboy, where Mayor Wilda Diaz is seeking re-election to a 4th term against three city councilmen and the son of her predecessor.
Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) waded into his old congressional district on Friday to endorse Diaz.
“Between, the pandemic and Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Diaz has demonstrated time and again her ability to respond to a crisis and marshal the city’s resources to effectively meet the challenge,” said Sires, whose congressional district included Perth Amboy until new maps were drawn for the 2012 election. “Wilda Diaz is the proven leader we need in this crisis.”
Diaz backed Sires in his 2006 Democratic primary against Joe Vas, then the Perth Amboy mayor and an Assemblyman from Middlesex County.
In a crowded field that includes the city’s Democratic municipal chairman, Helmin Caba, Joel Pabon, Sr., Fernando Irizarry, an attorney Joseph B. Vas, the son of the former mayor, Diaz is no shoo-in for re-election.
Perth Amboy voters approved a change last year that requires candidates to hit the 50% mark in the November non-partisan general election – or face a runoff.
The runoff is scheduled for December 8.
Since it was not included in Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order that makes next week’s election predominately vote-by-mail – or at one of five polling locations in Perth Amboy – right now, the runoff is set to be an in-person election.
Automatic vote-by-mail voters – those who voted by mail in 2016, 2017 or 2018 and didn’t pro-actively opt out of the program – would still receive their VBM ballot.
Murphy is widely expected to order the Perth Amboy runoff to be mostly by mail, and is likely to move that contest back one week, to December 15.
Still, no announcement has come of any changes.
This won’t be an easy task for Middlesex County election officials.
Results of the November 3 general election are not expected to be certified until November 20.
That will be followed by a ballot drawing, and then the printing and mailing of runoff ballots.
That assumes the runoff, if necessary, will produce two clear candidates and not face court challenges that may not commence until after the certification.
Middlesex election officials have the option of redeploying more than 30 secure ballot drop boxes to locations in Perth Amboy to obviate the need for involvement by the U.S. Postal Service in returning ballots.
It’s not immediately clear how the state will handle a federal law requiring military ballots be sent out 45 days before Election Day.