Allies of Hillside Mayor Dahlia Vertreese have captured three at-large township council seats in Tuesday’s runoff election.
Incumbent Craig Epps has been returned to office, along with newcomers Lisa Bonnano and Robert Rios They defeated incumbent George Cook, who had run with Renee Howard and Armando Guerra in the November 2 non-partisan municipal election with mayoral candidate Nancy Mondella.
With all but one district reported, Epps and Bonnano have received 1,085 votes with Rios at 1,072. Cook is in fourth place with 869 votes, coming within 203 votes of winning re-election. He is followed by Howard (843) and Guerra (810).
Vertreese narrowly avoided a runoff after winning 50.7% against Mondella (31.7%) and Councilwoman Andrea Hyatt (17.4%). Mondella gave up her council seat to run for mayor.
Nine candidates ran for the three seats after a trio of mayoral candidates assembled full ticket for the November election.
Bonnano (2,28), Epps (2,272) and Rios (2,208) — all three ran on a slate headed by Mayor Dahlia Vertreese, led the voting on November 2. The three candidates allied with mayoral candidate Nancy Mondella — Cook (1,598), Howard (1,485) and Guerra (1.466).
Three other candidates who ran with Andrea Hyatt — Sip Whitaker (819), Yolanda Rivera-Ziyad (751) and Patricia Brown (749) — ran far behind but can any candidate from avoiding a runoff.