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Former Westfield Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan. (Photo: JoAnn Neylan.)

Westfield GOP taps ex-councilwoman to run for mayor

By David Wildstein, February 17 2021 2:27 pm

Republicans will seek to regain control of Westfield, once a GOP stronghold and now has a Democratic mayor and a 7-1 Democratic majority on the town council.

JoAnn Neylan, who served as a 2nd ward councilwoman for 16 years, will take on Mayor Shelley Brindle.

Brindle ousted GOP incumbent Andrew Skibitsky in 2017 in a 61%-39% blowout.

“Today’s severe national political climate has divided this community,” said Neylan, a former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. “I’m running to reunite Westfield around excellent public service. We need to get back to talking to our neighbors and working together to solve the problems facing our town. As your Mayor, I will listen to all residents – ensuring every person’s voice is heard – and I will always put politics aside and do what is best for Westfield.”

The GOP has also announced a slate of council candidates in their bid to flip four seats.  They need to win all four to take control.

In the 1st ward, Republicans are running Amanda Como, a 14-year-resident who has spent time volunteering in youth sports programs. The Democratic incumbent is Linda Habgood.  She won with 63% four years ago.

Denise Garrett, who heads compliance for Morgan Stanley, is seeking a 2nd ward council as a Republican.

The incumbent there is Michael Dardia, a Democrat who was elected with 57% in 2017.

Retired FBI agent and U.S. Army veteran Shawn Mullen will seek the GOP nod for council in the 3rd ward.

When serving this country in Law Enforcement and the military, politics wasn’t even an afterthought,” Mullen said. “Serving on local government should be no different. I believe in putting community first and giving back as evidenced by my background. Westfield has offered my family so much over the years and now it’s my time to give back to Westfield.”

Democrat David Contract won the seat in 2017 with 56% of the vote.

In 2019, the lone Republican councilman in Westfield, Mark LoGrippo, was re-elected to his 3rd ward seat by 74 votes, 51%-49%.

In the 4th ward, where Democrat Dawn Mackey won 57% in the last election, Republicans are running businessman James Restivo.


Joe Biden won Westfield in 2020 by 6,434 votes, 66%-33%.

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