A slate of defeated candidates in Perth Amboy led by Joe Vas urged the city’s residents to not support Councilman Helmin Caba’s mayoral campaign Thursday.
“The Together, Perth Amboy Can Do Better campaign was never about politics, it was always about addressing the real concerns of Perth Amboy residents,” Together, Perth Amboy Can Do Better spokesman Frank Salado said. “Unfortunately, Helmin Caba is incapable of articulating and has flatly refused to answer how he would address the most important concerns facing our City.”
Caba finished second in the first round of voting last month, trailing incumbent Mayor Wilda Diaz 4,946-4,525. Both those candidates, as well as their council running mates, have since moved into a runoff race set to be held on Dec. 15.
Vas, the son of former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas, finished in third with 3,620 votes.
The slate’s proclamation was less an endorsement of Diaz than it was a condemnation of Caba.
“It is abundantly clear that he is unprepared, unqualified, and lacks the most basic understanding of municipal finance to be the City’s Mayor,” Salado said. “He is an unfortunate by-product of the recent Perth Amboy political infrastructure, nothing more.”
They mentioned the incumbent’s name only once Thursday, and then only to chide Caba for refusing to debate Diaz.
“Furthermore, Caba has rarely publicly addressed the many challenges of the future in Perth Amboy, but rather has dispatched a variety of campaign spokespeople with conflicting messages,” Salado said. “His refusal to debate Mayor Wilda Diaz speaks loudly and magnifies his claim to be the change Perth Amboy needs is blatantly unfounded.”
The Vas slate’s attack at the challenger follows Councilman Joel Pabon endorsement of the incumbent mayor, made earlier this week. Pabon ran for mayor but finished fourth in the five-candidate field, earning just 975 votes.
Junior Iglesia and Bernadette Falcon-Lopez are running for council on Diaz’s slate, while Rose Morales and BJ Torres are the councilman’s running mates.