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The polls are open in New Jersey

11 municipalities hold non-partisan municipal elections today

By David Wildstein, May 10 2022 6:00 am

Norman Rockwell, Election Day, 1944. Photo: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.)

Good morning, New Jersey.

It’s Election Day and the polls are now open in eleven municipalities across the state that are holding non-partisan municipal elections.

The most closely-watched races are in Bayonne and Paterson, where incumbent mayors are seeing re-election.  Less competitive is the Newark mayoral contest, but there are four ward council seats up for grabs.

And voter turnout in Union City, despite Mayor Brian Stack and his slate running unopposed, is always a sight to see.  Stack is New Jersey’s GOTV King.

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis faces City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski in his bid for a  third term.  The presence of a third candidate, Dr. Mitchell Brown, means the race potentially won’t be decided until a June runoff.  Two at-large council seats are also up.

Two of the city councilmen challenging Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh are currently under indictment for voter fraud.  In addition to Alex Mendez and Michael Jackson, Sayegh faces Councilman Luis Velez and Aslan Goow, a former councilman who may or may not live in Paterson.  There is no runoff in Paterson.  Three at-large council seats are also on the ballot.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka looks safe in his bid for a third term against Sheila Montague, who has lost a few school bord races.  With four at-large councilmembers unopposed – along with North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos – the real drama in Newark is in contests for Central, East, South and West Ward seats on the city council.

Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver, first elected in 2018 as the council’s youngest member, faces a rematch with 2018 candidate Shawn McCray.

In the East Ward, traditionally the city’s Portuguese ward, the race appears to have come down to three candidates, all of them Portuguese Americans and all of them former police officers.

Michael Silva has the backing of retiring Councilman Augusto Amodor and Assembly Budget Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark), the state’s two most prominent Portuguese elected officials; Louis Weber is running on Baraka’s slate; and Anthony Campos nearly unseated Amodor in 2018, losing by just 83 votes.  Also running is supermarket owner Jonathan Seabra, who ran in 2018 and got 9% of the vote in the first round.

Baraka’s choice for the South Ward is South Ward Democratic Municipal Chair Pat Council, but Council faces no fewer than six opponents in the race to succeed retiring Councilman John Sharpe James, the son of the former mayor. 2018 candidate Terrance Bankston is running as well, as are Christina Cherry, Douglas Freeman, Trenton Jones, Cynthia Truitt-Rease, and Altarik White.

In the West Ward, Baraka is supporting rapper Dupré Kelly against former South Ward Councilman Oscar James and attorney Chigozie Onyema; also running are Lyndon Brown, Lavita Johnson., who came in third when she ran for the same seat in 2018,  and Michelle Lyn Middleton.  The winner will succeed Councilman Joseph McCallum, who has pleaded guilty to  wire fraud.

Four years after unseating a three-term incumbent, Belleville Mayor Michael Melham faces a challenge from Steve Rovell, a second war councilman.  A pair of at-large council seats are also up this year.

In Ocean City, Mayor Jay Gillian is seeking a fourth term against Councilman Keith Hartzell.   Three council seats are also on the ballot.

Thirteen candidates are seeking four ward council seats in Orange.  Three of the four wards have incumbents running for re-election.  In the North Ward, Councilwoman Tency Eason faces Sharief Williams, whom she beat easily in 2018, and Kami Willis; in the East Ward, Councilman Kerry Coley is being challenged by Fatima Turner and Board of Education member Tyrone Tarver; and in the South Ward, Councilwoman Jamie Summers Johnson – who won by just three votes four years ago – will square off against James Ward and 2020 council candidate Lynval James. The West Ward, meanwhile, is a four-way race to succeed Councilman Harold Johnson between Quantavia Hilbert, Jonathan Beckford, Genoria Jenkins, and Mohamed Toure.

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss faces Paul Inman, a former city councilman, is his bid for a third term.  Three council seats are also up.

One of the biggest stories of the May 2018 election was the defeat of 28-year Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider by John Pallone, a former councilman and the brother of House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr.  This year, Pallone and his council slate are unopposed.

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and his slate of incumbents are unopposed.

Two incumbent councilmen in Keansburg are unopposed.

Missing from the list of May municipal elections four years ago are Trenton, Ridgewood and Newton.  All three have moved their local non-partisan races to November.

Polls close at 8 PM.

Click HERE to download Joey Fox’s 2022 New Jersey Globe Spring Voter’s Guide for the municipal and primary elections.

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