Jennifer Williams and Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg will be sworn in as members of the Trenton City Council on Sunday after winning the December 13 non-partisan municipal runoff election.
City Clerk Brandon Garcia certified the election results today.
They will join East Ward Councilman Joseph Harrison and West Ward Councilwoman-elect Teska Frisby, who won their elections on November 8 after receiving more than 50% of the vote Harrison is the only returning incumbent.
The council will reorganize with four members, enough to constitute a quorum. A runoff for three at-large council seats is scheduled for January 24. It will take at least two weeks to certify the winners of that election.
Trenton, the state’s capital city, had been widely viewed as the most dysfunctional city council in the state. The election gives Mayor Reed Gusciora, who was re-elected by a landslide 71% of the vote against two city councilwomen who had been accused of making racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic statements.
Municipal elections were moved from May to November for the first time this year, extending the terms of the 2018 election winners by six months.
The four ward councilmembers won two-year terms and will stand before voters again in November 2024, running that year four-year terms. Gusciora and the at-large councilmembers won four-year terms that are up in 2026.
In the runoff, Williams defeated Algernon Ward, Jr. by just one vote, 427 to 426 (50.1% to 49.9%) for the North Ward seat. She will replace Marge Caldwell-Wilson, who did not seek re-election.
In the South Ward, Figueroa Kettenburg defeated Damian Malave by 40 votes, 324 to 284 (53.3% to 46.7%). The incumbent, George Muschal, retired this year.
Williams is the Trenton Republican Municipal Chair and becomes the first openly transgender councilmember in New Jersey history. Figueroa Kettenburg was the target of false accusations as to her ethnic heritage after Malave went to court in an unsuccessful bid to put her on the ballot without a Hispanic surname in a ward that is majority Hispanic.
The city clerk initially certified Yazminelly Gonzalez, Crystal Feliciano and Yazmin Edwards as the at-large winners, but a Superior Court Judge found that the initial calculations of 50% plus one were incorrect. The three will face Taiwanda Terry-Wilson, Alex Bethea and Kadja Manuel in the runoff.