Andre Sayegh won a lopsided victory to become the next mayor of Paterson, winning the office on his third try with 41% of the vote in a six-candidate field.
Sayegh, a 44-year-old councilman, becomes Paterson’s first Arab-American mayor in a city where a majority of voters are Black or Hispanic. But Sayegh drew wide support from all minority communities in his bid to bring the city together after the criminal conviction of Mayor Joey Torres last year.
City Councilman Alex Mendez finished second with 21%, followed by councilman William McKoy (12%), former deputy mayor Pedro Rodriguez (17%), councilman Michael Jackson (5%), and Paterson PBA president Alex Cruz (4%). Sayegh received 8.835 votes – 4,236 more than Mendez.
Sayegh won many key political endorsements, including Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, City Council President Ruby Cotton, and a multitude of labor unions.
Sayegh ran in 2010 when Jeffrey Jones ousted Torres by a 43%-40% margin – Sayegh got 17% — and again in 2014 when Torres made his comeback bid. Torres beat Sayegh 36%-29%, with Jones finishing fourth in a seven-candidate field.
CITY COUNCIL RACES
Fourteen candidates competed for three At-Large City Council seats. Incumbent Maritza Davila was re-elected with 5,277 votes, followed by former school board member Lilisa Mimms (4,823) and school board member Flavio Rivera (11%). Mimms had run with Sayegh.
Among the losing candidates were three former councilmen, Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman (3,979), Aslon Goow (3,098), and Kenneth McDaniel (3,411).
Mendez gave up his At-Large seat to run for mayor, and longtime councilman Kenneth Morris chose not to seek re-election.