By Walter Elliott
NEWARK - Mayor Ras Baraka will be joined by his entire council team on July 1's inauguration stage, now that a majority of Central, East and West ward voters chose the three "Newark Forward" candidates in June 12's runoff elections.
Independent candidate Anthony Campos, however, unofficially came within 83 votes of upsetting longtime incumbent Augusto Amador in the East Ward.
Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin and his Election Division staff, as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, had meanwhile tallied 8,828 votes from among a three ward pool of 77,888 registered voters.
The participating versus pool voters comes out to 11.33 percent. Tuesday's turnout is up compared to the 9.12 percent of voters who cast ballots in June 10, 2014's Central and West ward runoff elections.
Keep in mind that Durkin will be holding off certifying June 12's results as official until June 26. He keeps the fortnight period open in case of any challenges or recounts - or until all votes are accounted for.
The three percent increase between Tuesday and June 10, 2014 may have come from the intense get out the vote effort between Amador and Campos' campaign workers.
Campos, 50, a former Newark Police Director who retired after 30 years' service in 2016, set the East Ward runoff stage by drawing 1,255 votes, or 35.38 percent, May 8.
Amador finished ahead of Campos, three other balloted challengers and 12 write-in votes with 1,524 votes. His 42.97 percent of the vote, however, fell short of the "50 percent plus one vote" rule that would have prevented a runoff.
Amador, to paraphrase a Beatles lyric, got by Tuesday with a little help from his friends.
The now-five-term councilman received help from North Ward-based politicians. North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr. and North Ward Democratic Committee Chairman Samuel Gonzalez spent part of Tuesday before the East Side High School polling stations. State Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) shook hands while walking ward streets.
Ironbound son Sheriff Armando Fontoura worked the phones Tuesday like he had had May 8.
State Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark), by contrast, was Campos' highest-ranked endorser.
Tuesday's voters, in the end, put Amador over the top with 1,824 votes for 51.04 percent, Campus came in with 1,741 for 48.71 percent. There were nine write-in votes for the remaining .16 percent.
Durkin and his staff reported that 89 of the 90 voting machines among the three wards were used Tuesday. The one machine, in Amador's E-7 District, did not report.
Team Baraka 2018 candidates also prevailed in the West and central ward runoffs.
Joseph McCallum earned his second West Ward council term by receiving 1,378 votes for 55.99 percent. He was May 8's frontrunner with 1,283, but for 30.81 percent only.
Challenger Tomecca "Mecca" Keyes drew 1,079 for 43.84 percent. Keyes, who ran on Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins for Mayor ticket, made the runoff with 1,172 for 28.15. There were four ward write-ins.
LaMonica R. McIver will be succeeding the outgoing Chaneyfield Jenkins as Central Ward Councilwoman July 1.
McIver received 1,578 for 56.32 percent Tuesday. She mustered 1,811 votes May 8, but for 40.90 percent, over eight other candidates.
Independent Shawn X. McCray's campaign ended with 1,216 for 43.40. He attained second-best May 8 with 748 for 16.89 percent. There were eight write-ins Tuesday.
McIver is to become the fourth Central Ward council member since Cory A. Booker running mate Dana Rone defeated Chaneyfield Jenkins in 2006.
Darrin Sharif prevailed over Charles Bell in a 2010 runoff precipitated by Rone's resignation. Chaneyfield Jenkins, then on Baraka's platform, defeated Sharif in 2014's runoff.
By Walter Elliott
NEWARK - One had to look closely at June 5's unofficial party primary results to find protest votes and challenges.
Tuesday's primaries are used by the two major political parties to choose their standard bearers for the Nov. 6 General Election. Some of the participating Democratic and Republican voters, however, showed their dissent to their party establishments in selected races while otherwise endorsing their frontrunners.
Incumbent Essex County Democratic Committee choice Robert Menendez and Essex Republican Party Organization Bob Hugin, for example, were chosen for the U.S. Senate General Election ballot despite respective protest votes.
Mikie Sherrill and Antony Ghee were respectively picked as Nov. 6 finalists to succeed the retiring longtime Cong. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) in New Jersey's 11th Congressional District by prevailing over four challengers each.
There were contests between ERPO favorites and Essex County Conservative Republicans among Essex County's Executive and Sheriff's primaries. Several other write-in protests kept party frontrunners from having unanimous state, county and municipal endorsement.
Please note that Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin's Election Division staff are counting provisional and/or absentee ballots as of press time. Durkin, as per procedure, is refraining from certifying the below results here at the county Hall of Records until June 25.
Durkin's staff recorded an 11.51 percent voter turnout Tuesday from among all of Essex's 22 municipalities. There were 57,245 votes cast from among a countywide pool of 497,511 registered voters.
Tuesday's turnout is roughly double of the 2014 and 2010 midterm primary elections. Clerk's records show that 5.91 percent, or 28,814 voters from a pool of 487,655, took part in 2014. There were 6.76 percent, or 30,729 from 454,367, in 2010.
Also note that 4 p.m. Tuesday was the petition filing deadline for "minor party" and independent candidates to get on Nov. 6's ballot.
U.S. Senate: The respective Essex County Democratic and Republican results reflect those found statewide.
Menendez (D-Harrison), for example, received 33,648 votes for 73.21 percent of the Democratic party vote. Lisa A. McCormick, of Rahway, however, drew 12,227 for 26.6 percent of the vote. There were 84 write-in votes for the remaining .18 percent.
The Menendez/McCormick statewide vote split was 68/32 percent. McCormick won the Cape May, Hunterdon, Salem, Somerville, Sussex and Warren county Democratic primaries.
Some observers believe that some party voters cast ballots for McCormick in light of Menendez’s recent federal bribery trial. U.S. Prosecutors charges that the senator did favors for a dentist friend resulted in a hung jury.
County Republicans chose Hugin, of Summit, over ECCR runner Brain O. Goldberg, of Livingston.
Hugin received 6,004 votes for 76.17 percent. Goldberg drew 1,853 for 23.51. There were 25 write-ins for .32 percent.
House of Representatives Eighth Congressional District (Including Belleville and Newark's East and North wards). ECDC-endorsed Albio Sires (D-West New York) and ERPO runner John R. Muniz, of Jersey City rolled to their respective nominations.
Sires received 3,108 county votes for 99.84 percent against five write-ins. Muniz mustered 544 for 99.45 against three write-ins.
10th CD (East Orange, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Maplewood, Orange, South Orange, lower parts of Bloomfield, Montclair and West Orange, the rest of Newark plus two Hudson County and six Union County towns).
Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) and Agha Kahn, of Jersey City, are headed for Nov.6's General Election ballot.
Incumbent Payne tallied 22,456 for 93.26. Challenger Aaron Walter Fraser, of Jersey City, amassed 1,597 for 6.63. There were 25 write-ins.
Kahn got the county GOP nod with 770 votes for 97.84 percent. There were 17 write-ins.
11th CD (Nutley, upper parts of Bloomfield, Montclair and West Orange plus nine "West Essex," 28 Morris, eight Passaic and five Sussex County towns.) Sherrill and Ghee prevailed in the closest thing to a battleground district in "Local Talk News" territory.
The ECDC-backed Sherrill, of Upper Montclair, garnered 13,229 county votes for 81.52. West Orange's Tamara Harris got ECDC Chairman Leroy Jones' attention by getting 2,136 for 13.16.
Mitchell H. Cobert edged fellow Morristown resident Alison Heslin for third. Cobert tallied 316 for 1.95 to Heslin's 309 for 1.90.
The ERPO-supported Ghee, of Totowa, netted 2,201 votes for 36.84.
"New Jersey Reagan Republican" Peter De Neufville, of Chatham, edged ECCR runner Jay Webber, of Parsippany, for second Neufville drew 1,841 for 30.81; Webber 1,727 for 28.9.
Patrick S. Allocco, of Convent Station, placed fourth with 109 for 1.82 Martin Hewitt, of Morristown was next at 83 for 1.39. There were 14 write-ins.
N.J. STATE ASSEMBLY 34th DISTRICT (East Orange, Montclair, Orange and Passaic County's Clifton)
Britnee N. Timberlake (D-East Orange) rolled to a 99.9 percent plurality nomination. The former county freeholder who was appointed to succeed now-Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver in January garnered 9,853 votes in her district. There were 10 write-ins.
District 34 Republicans meanwhile made 65 write-in votes. It is not clear to "Local Talk News" whether the top write-in candidate will make the Nov. 6 ballot.
County Executive: Joseph N. DiVincenzo (D-Roseland) and John Chiaia, of North Caldwell will now grace Nov. 6's ballot.
DiVincenzo got 99.6 percent with 40,714 votes. There were 162 write-ins for the other .4.
The ERPO-backed Chiaia got 4,484 for 63.47. ECCR runner Richard Straten, of Montclair, drew 2,567 for 36.33. There were 14 write-ins.
Sheriff: Armando R. Fontoura (D-Fairfield) and Pasquale Capozzoli, of West Caldwell have made Nov. 6's ballot.
Fontoura amassed 40,001 votes for 99.81. The 76 write-ins made up the remaining .19.
Capozzoli, under the ERPO banner, netted 4,670 for 65.74. Independent Republican John Van Wagner, of Montclair, tallied 2,418 for 34.04. There were 16 write-ins.
District Three Freeholder (East Orange, Orange, South Orange and Newark's West Ward): Tyshammie Cooper (D-East Orange) rolled to her Democratic nomination. The current chief of staff to Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren received 8,036 for 99.79. There were 17 write-ins. District Three Republicans made five write-in votes.
Bloomfield Council. Richard Rockwell got his Democratic party electoral nomination with 99.82 percent vote. The appointed Rockwell drew 2,845 votes against five write-ins.
Township Republicans made seven write-in votes.
Maplewood Township Committee: ECDC running mates Nancy Adams and Greg Lembrich got their party nominations against 31 write-in votes.
Former Deputy Mayor Adams drew 2,352 for 50.15. Lembrich tallied 2,307 for 49.19.
Township Republicans cast 10 write-in votes.
By Walter Elliott
NEWARK - The proverbial operatic diva, barring unforeseen developments, is about to belt out a closing aria for almost all of the May 8 nonpartisan municipal election results as of press time.
Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin's Election Division Office workers handed "Local Talk" the official vote counts for mayor and/or council elections in Newark, Orange, Irvington and Belleville.
The results confirm Incumbents' re-elections in Newark's mayoral, at large council and North and South ward elections. Runoff elections are being arranged for June 12 in the East, Central and West wards.
A majority of participating Orange voters have returned all four ward incumbents.
The same is true, barring an intercession by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights, of Irvington’s mayor-council elections.
Township block association president Eloise McDaniel told "Local Talk" May 16 that she had sent her petition to have Irvington's elections nullified to the federal OCR around May 1. The would-be candidate for mayor's argument rests among whether the signatures stricken off by the township clerk is of actual registered Irvington voters.
A staff member in county elections superintendent's Edna Baugh's office May 16 said that a New Jersey Superior Court judge here may sign off on "a recount in Belleville." The staffer did not indicate whether the recount is to be with the Belleville mayor's race or one of two at-large council races.
Former Councilman Michael Melham and running mates Naomy DePena and Thomas Graziano have, for now, upset incumbent Mayor Raymond Kimble and his running mates Kevin Kennedy and Charles Hood.
There is also the unforeseen wild card from State Attorney General, should he see any impropriety, could file a motion to take over any recounts.
The following results, outside of the one Belleville race, may be certified by Durkin by 4:30 p.m. May 16.
NEWARK: Mayor Ras Baraka garnered 22,094 votes to outgoing Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins' 6,510votes and 80 write-in votes.
Luis Quintana remained the at-large council race's top vote-getter at 16,934. Council President Mildred Crump was next 16,694, followed by Carlos Gonzalez's 13,252 and Eddie Osborne's 12,003.
Bessie Walker, who ran on Chaneyfield Jenkins' ticket placed fifth at 5,395, running mate Hector Corchado at 4,375 and independent Dupree Kelly at 3,551. Ariagna Perello (2,979), Shakima K. Thomas (1,914) and Victor Monterrosa, Jr. (1,303) followed.
Incumbent Anibal Ramos, Jr. keeps his North Ward seat at 4,401 against Chaneyfield Jenkins' runner Katilia Velez's 722. Pablo Oliveira (205) and Hellane Freeman (160) followed.
Incumbent John Sharpe James was similarly returned to South Ward office at 3,046 to Terrance Bankston's 1,558. Khalil Kettles completed the balloted field at 583.
The other three ward counts are for the record and are up for June 12's runoff elections.
LaMonica McIver, on the Baraka ticket had 1,811 votes to independent Shawn X. McCray's 748 for the Central Ward seat. They will move onto June 12's runoff since neither attained more than 50 percent of the votes.
Incumbent Augusto Amador (1,524) is to defend his East Ward seat against challenger Anthony Campos (1,255).
Incumbent Joseph McCallum (1,283) is to vie for the West Ward seat against Chaneyfield Jenkins runner Tomecca "Mecca" Keyes (1,172).
ORANGE: Incumbent South Ward Councilwoman Jamie Summers-Johnson - after county counting of mailed-in, absentee and provisional ballots May 11 - has won her re-election.
Summers-Johnson received 332 ward votes to challenger Brandon Matthew's 329. The three-vote plurality remained unchanged since May 9's results. There were two write-in votes.
East Ward incumbent and current Council President Kerry Coley drew 443 votes to challenger Dawan Alford's 364.
North Ward Councilwoman Tency Eason was re-elected with 215 votes to on-ballot challenger Sharief Williams' 105. Tracy A. Latta received 32 write-in votes.
West Ward Councilman Harold Johnson, Jr. drew 210 votes to challenger Michael O. Scott's 104.
BELLEVILLE: Michael Melham drew an overall 1,845 votes to Raymond Kimble's 1,748 and Lisa Lopez's 856. The votes included 473 mail-in ballots for Melham, 85 for Kimble and 51 for Lopez.
Thomas Graziano tallied 1,665 votes and running mate Naomy DePena 1,554 for both council seats. Challenger Charles Hood placed third at 1,491 and incumbent Kevin Kennedy at 1,245.
Independent Victor Mesce drew 974 over Lopez running mate Felipe Reyes' 793.
IRVINGTON: The mayor-council results figures have changed - but not its finishing order.
Incumbent Anthony "Tony" Vauss tallied 3,439 votes for his mayoral re-election against 29 write-in votes.
Vauss' "Team Irvington Strong" incumbents also swept the at-large council seats. Renee Burgess remains top vote-getter at 2,651, followed by Dr. October Hudley's 2,551 and Charnette Frederic's 1,963. Challenger Barnes Reid tallied 1,139 votes.
By Walter Elliott
NEWARK - Baseball legend and Montclair resident Yogi Berra's "It ain't over 'till it's over" quote took on various degrees of meaning when May 8's municipal election returns were announced here, in Orange, Irvington and Belleville Tuesday night.
It really is "over," for example, Mayor Ras Baraka and most of his incumbent Newark Forward team. A landslide majority of voters here had returned him, his entire slate of at-large council members and two of his five ward council seat holders.
Election totals are so close in the East, West and Central Ward council races, however, that the Newark Forward candidates will be facing the second highest vote-getter in June 12 runoff elections.
Absentee and provisional ballots are being counted by Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin's Election Division staff to determine the winner in Orange's South Ward Council contest. Incumbents in Orange's three other wards were returned.
Mayor Anthony "Tony" Vauss and his three "Team Irvington Strong" council running mates, barring a longshot petition to nullify Irvington's results, appears to have been returned to office in a landslide.
Former Belleville Councilman Michael Melham and his challenging slate, as of deadline, appears to have ousted incumbent Mayor Raymond Kimble and his team. Whether Durkin will certify Melham or Kimble the winner on or by May 22 will depend on a State Superior Court-Newark ruling on the volume and validity of a large volume of absentee ballots.
Durkin's election staff meanwhile found 39,879 people among the four towns had cast their votes on or by 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The participating voters comprised 18.81 percent of a registered pool of 212,015. Individual turnouts, like fuel mileage disclaimers in car ads, will vary by town, ward and voting district.
NEWARK: Baraka, as of 10 a.m. May 9, got the nod over Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins for mayor. The incumbent got his second term with 21,579 votes citywide to the outgoing Central ward Councilwoman's 6,360. There were 88 write-in votes. Baraka and Chaneyfield Jenkins respective totals amount to a 76.99/22.69 percentage split.
A majority of participating city voters also returned the incumbent at-large council members from a field of at least 11 candidates. "Elder statesman" Luis Quintana was the field's top vote-getter. The longest-running incumbent and former acting mayor got 16,548 votes for 21.47 percent.
Mildred Crump got the second-highest individual returns. The current Council President garnered 16,304 for 23.16 percent. Carlos Gonzalez received his fourth straight term with 12,970 for 16.83. Voters granted Eddie Osborne the fourth and final at-large seat with 11,735 for 15.23.
"I'm 4 Gayle" running mates Bessie Walker and Hector Corchado were "the best of the rest." Former councilwoman Walker tallied 5,237 for 6.8. Former North Ward Councilman Corchado was next at 4,270 for 5.54. Independent Dupree L. Kelly came in seventh at 3,448 for 4.47.
Former Newark Public Schools Board of Education President Ariagna Perello, who ran on Chaneyfield Jenkins' ticket, came in eighth at 2,914 for 3.78. Independent Shakima K. Thomas was next at 1,865 for 2.42, while “A Movement for the People” leader Victor Monterrosa, Jr. drew 1,266 for 1.64.
There were another 509 write-in votes to round out the other .66 percent. It is not known as of press time how many of those votes were for community monitor/activist Donna Jackson.
Ward Council - There are three ward runoff elections, instead of the accustomed one, set for June 12.
Central Ward: Newark Forward's LaMonica R. McIver, on one hand, out-tallied eight rivals on the ballot and another 38 write-in votes. McIver, who wants to succeed Chaneyfield Jenkins, amassed 1,796 for 41.01 percent.
Because McIver did not get "50 percent plus one" votes, she will be facing first-runner-up Shawn X. McCray in the ward's June 12 runoff. McCray, an independent, tallied 735 for 16.78.
Former NPS BOE President and Chaneyfield Jenkins running mate Rashon K. Hasan, at 625 for 14.27, finished third.
Rafael Brito, in his third run for an elective office, came fourth at 401 for 9.16. Jaime Gonzalez was fifth at 289 for 6.6. Luther Roberson, at 140 for 3.2, was next. Second-time runner Czezre Adams followed with 124 for 2.83. Independent Basil Parker placed eighth at 118 for 2.69. AMP runner Anthony D. Diaz rounded out the balloted field at 113 for 2.58. There were 38 write-in votes.
East Ward: Longtime incumbent Augusto Amador is to face retired police chief Anthony Campos June 12. Amador, on Newark Forward, drew 1,500 for 42.81. Independent Campos tallied 1,243 for 35.47.
Second-time independent candidate Jonathan T. Seabra placed third at 328 for 9.36. Former NPS BOE member and Chaneyfield Jenkins teammate Crystal Fonseca was next at 294 for 8.39. AMP member Tanisha H. Garner completed the balloted field at 127 for 3.62. There were 12 write-ins.
West Ward: Incumbent Newark Forward member Joseph McCallum and challenging Chaneyfield Jenkins runner Tomecca "Mecca" Keyes are pitted against each other June 12.
McCallum, seeking his second term, drew 1,213 for 30.71. Keyes got the runner-up nod with 1,112 for 28.15.
Independent Lavita Johnson placed third at 733 for 18.56. Marcellus Allen was next at 329 for 8.33. Frequent runner Rev. Dereck Dillard finished fifth at 262 for 6.63. Artice Norvell III completed the balloted field at 208 for 5.27. There were 93 write-ins.
North Ward: Newark Forward member Anibal Ramos, Jr. received his fourth term in a landslide. Ramos tallied 4,342 for 80.1.
Chaneyfield Jenkins runner Katilia Velez was next at 205 for 13. Frequent campaigner Pablo Olivera finished third at 203 for 3.74. AMP's Hellane T. Freeman completed the field at 158 for 2.91. There were 13 write-ins.
South Ward: John Sharpe James was also returned in a landslide. The Newark Forward member garnered 2,988 for 58.08.
Terrance Bankston placed second with 1,534 for 29.82. Khalil Kettles was next at 573 for 11.14. There were 50 write-ins.
Newark's overall 29,000 votes is a 61 percent decline to the 45,000 votes four years ago. Baraka edged NPS BOE President and attorney Shavar Jeffries in 2014's election headliner.
ORANGE WARD COUNCIL: South Ward: Incumbent Jamie Summers-Johnson and challenger Brandon K. Matthews are literally three votes apart as of 10 a.m. Wednesday. Whether Summers-Johnson gets her second term or Matthews his first may rest on the current counting of absentee and provisional votes.
Summers-Johnson, "Continuing Orange's Progress," currently leads with 330 for 50.08. Matthews, "Transparency for Orange We Deserve Better," stands at 327 for 49.62. There were two write-in votes.
East Ward: Council President Kerry Coley retained his seat by 18 votes over challenger Dawan A. Alford. Coley, "Putting the East Ward First," received 442 for 54.3. Alford, "A Brighter Orange," tallied 360 for 44.23. There were 12 write-ins.
North Ward: Incumbent Tency Eason held off balloted challenger Sharief Williams and write-in campaigner Tracey A. Latta. Eason, "Together We Build a Better Orange," mustered 212 for 61.1. Williams, "Committed to Community Dedicated to Progress," amassed 103 for 29.68. It is not known how many of the 32 write-in votes were for Latta.
West Ward: Incumbent Harold L. Johnson was returned to the Council dais over challenger Michael Scott and former councilman Hassan Abdul-Rasheed. Johnson, "The Peoples Councilman Serving You," attained 207 for 54.33. Scott received 104 for 27.3. Abdul-Rasheed, "Your Consistent Public Servant," tallied 69 for 18.11. There was one write-in vote.
IRVINGTON: Mayor Anthony "Tony" Vauss and "Team Irvington Strong" colleagues Renee Burgess, Charnette Frederic and Dr. October Hudley rolled to re-election.
Vauss ran virtually unopposed for his second term. The former Irvington school board president received 3,422 votes.
Vauss, on one hand, announced on May 1 a TIS "Election Day Celebration" for Tuesday night at the East Orange Golf Course in Millburn's Short Hills section. The victory party was co-hosted by East Orange Mayor Ted Green and Orange Mayor Dwayne D. Warren.
The mayor, on the other hand, arranged a constellation of Essex County Democratic Committee-supported public officials - from Green and Warren to Gov. Phil Murphy - on his election materials.
There were 29 write-in votes, including those for block association president Elouise McDaniel. McDaniel and "Time for a Change in Irvington" council running mate Allison Morris have meanwhile gone on a petition drive to have Irvington's mayor-council elections nullified. The duo claim that the signatures struck off their petitions in March were of registered township voters.
At Large Council: Burgess was the night's top vote-getter, at 2,639 for 31.89. TIs running-mate Hudley was next at 2,539 for 30.68. Former Council President Frederic retained the third council seat with 1,940 for 23.44. "Time for a Change" runner Barnes Reid received 1,137 for 13.74. There were 21 write-in votes, including some for Morris.
BELLEVILLE: Melham and his at-large council slate, as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, are unofficially ahead of the Kimble team, the Lisa W. Lopez-Felipe Reyes team and independent Victor Mesca.
Team Kimble won the township's voting machine tallies. Melham, however, leads when some of the 700 absentee and/or provisional ballots were counted overnight.
Durkin's staff may be counting some or all of the 700 ballots, pending a State Superior Court-Newark hearing that was scheduled for May 9.
Mayor - Melham, for now, has edged Kimble. The "Melham for a Better Belleville" standard bearer has 1,826 votes for 41.36. Kimble has 1,736 for 39.32. Lopez, "Say Yes for Change," tallied 850 for 19.25. There were three write-in votes
At-Large Council MBB runners Thomas Graziano and Naomy DePena currently has the two Township Council seats over at least four rivals. Graziano is the top vote-getter at 1,647 for 21.52. DePena's next at 1,534 for 20.04.
BiB runner Charles Hood placed third at 1,479 for 19.33. Incumbent Councilman Kevin Kennedy is next at 1,238 for 16.18. "For the People" independent Victor Mesca placed fifth at 964 for 12.6. "Say Yes" running-mate Felipe Reyes followed with 787 for 10.28. There were four write-in votes.
By Walter Elliott
NEWARK - The certified field of 37 ward and at-large council candidates for the city's May 8 nonpartisan municipal election may be enlarged by up to four should emergency New Jersey Superior Court rulings fall in their favor.
The problem for the aspiring quartet who filed for an immediate injunction March 14 - Donna Jackson, Wilbur Ross, Debra Salters and David D. Walsh - is that time and events are running against them.
Should a Superior Court judge rule in their favor the next week, City Clerk Kenneth Louis and his staff would then have to add them to the ballot. The other 37 candidates already have their ballot placements by a March 13 lottery overseen by Louis.
Jackson, Ross, Salters and Walsh - like the rest of the 39 council and mayoral candidates - filed their petitions in Louis' City Hall office on or before 4 p.m. March 5.
Walsh and Jackson needed at least 1,314 citywide verified signatures on their petition to run on the ballot as at-large candidates. Ross needed at least 341 to get South Ward Council candidate certification.
Salters needed 292 to attain certification to run as a certified Central Ward council candidate - or so she thought.
The former Essex County College Board of Trustees Student Representative said, on March 15, that she was called by Louis' office staff that she actually lives in the East Ward. Her address was transferred from the Central to the East Ward after a 2012 US Census-driven redistricting.
Or is Salters living in the North Ward, where 311 signatures are needed?
"No one was told it was redistricted back in 2012; the people in City Hall couldn't explain it," said Salters. "Five days later I was told I lived in the East Ward. Then they told me I was registered in the North Ward."
Which ward Salters is in becomes a problem on two counts. First, she needs to know who she is competing against. Second, she, like all candidates, must have lived at their current city or ward address for at least a year before May 8, 2018.
Louis, according to a posting of petition guidelines on the city's website and in a March 15 publish report, said that only the signatures of registered Newark residents with verifiable city addresses would be considered as valid. Signatures must be legible.
Those signing petitions can only sign one of a candidate running for mayor and one for a ward council candidate. Signers may also sign up to four at-large council candidate petitions. (Newark's council is made up of five ward members - one for each ward - and four at-large members.)
Salters said Louis told her that many of her petition signatures were of residents who are not on the Essex County Board of Election's voter registration rolls. She said she checked here at the county's Hall of Records "and many of them were registered.
"These people know I've been an activist for many years (and) they know me personally," added Salters. "Two people for sure they don't want to see on that ballot are me and (community monitor) Donna Jackson."
Walsh meanwhile said that Louis and his staff threw out 970 of the 1,527 petitions he submitted to run as an at-large candidate. He alleges that Louis told him that the tossed signatures did not match to those on registration rolls, had moved out of the city or were otherwise "blatantly nonconforming."
Walsh was left with 1,357 verified signatures - 43 clear of the at-large minimum. He was still not certified.
Walsh said he resorted to taking cell phone photos of the petitions in question in Louis' office. It was either that, said Walsh, or submit an OPRA request that may or may not be granted before the March 5 filing deadline.
The candidate said he took pictures "for the better part of four hours" before "Louis attempted to stop him."
Meanwhile, at-large candidate Shakima K. Thomas joined with these four in suit of the clerk. While Thomas obtained successful certification as an at-large council candidate, she said that Louis accused her campaign staff of forging signatures of registered voters from existing rolls. Louis removed 526 of the 1,715 petition signatures that Thomas submitted.
By Walter Elliott
NEWARK - At least 52 men and women are officially vying for the 18 mayor and/or council positions up for a May 8 vote in Newark, Orange and Irvington. The "At least" opening clause may come off of Orange's ballot, pending Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Vena's rulings here between now and April 2. Questions on the residential eligibility of two Orange ward candidates, which were brought up before Vena's bench here at the Essex County Historic Courthouse March 13, may add or bar those two names on that ballot. Vena, from his Newark bench 10 a.m. March 14, received word from prospective candidate Michael Scott, City Clerk Joyce Lanier and Assistant City Attorney Joseph Garcia that Scott furnished the additional documents needed to become certified. Lanier has not only certified Scott, who has met the one-year residency requirement, as a certified West Ward Council candidate later that Wednesday but also conducted the long-scheduled 3 p.m. candidate ballot drawing. That drawing, however, will proceed without Kyleesha Wingfield-Hill. The prospective East Ward Council candidate's residency requirement appeal is to be heard before Vena April 2. It appears that Orange's ward candidate drawing for ballot positions, to be conducted by Lanier in City Hall 3 p.m. March 14, has been postponed to as late as April 3. All other statutory election dates, including voter registration and vote-by-mail deadlines, remain as-is for the three "Local Talk" municipalities who are holding non-partisan May elections this year. NEWARK: This year's election field, as of the 4 p.m. March 5 petition filing deadline, has shaped into Team Baraka vs. Team Chaneyfield-Jenkins vs. a raft of independent candidates. Ras Baraka, who is seeking his second term as mayor, has eight of the nine incumbent ward council members with him. Team Baraka 2018 includes at-large council members Mildred Crump, Carlos Gonzalez, Eddie Osborne, and Luis Quintana plus East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr., West Ward Councilman Joseph McCallum and South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James. Baraka's team includes Believe in Newark Foundation co-founder LaMonica McIver as its Central Ward candidate. Incumbent Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins has decided to forgo running for re-election to challenge Baraka for mayor. Her "I'm 4 Gayle" team includes seven running mates focused on strategic at-large and ward positions. Former North Ward Councilman Hector Corchado, former Newark Public Schools Board of Education President Ariagna Perello and former councilwoman Bessie Walker are running at-large. Chaneyfield-Jenkins' ward challengers are: former NPS board member Crystal Fonseca for the East Ward, former Ironbound Community Corporation development director Katilia Velez for the North Ward, former NAACP-Newark Branch economic development director Tomecca "Mecca" Keyes for the West Ward and former NPS Board President Rashon K. Hasan for the Central Ward. Chaneyfield-Jenkins has hired Pablo Fonseca as her campaign manager. The Fonseca Consulting Group founder and C. Fonseca's father was then-mayor Cory A. Booker's campaign manager in his 2010 successful re-election campaign. P. Fonseca has reportedly been involved in a 2012 West New York mayoral campaign and with two 2017 Belleville Board of Education candidates' runs. Nonpartisan municipal election campaigns are nominally not conducted by political parties. Nonpartisan candidates are free to form their purpose-built platforms, band together as a team and/or receive endorsement from political office holders. The remaining at large and ward candidates, as of Noon March 13, are running individual campaigns. They may form alliances among each other before May 8. The current independent candidates are, in alphabetical order: At-Large: Dupree L. Kelly, Victor M. Monterosa, Jr., Shakima K. Thomas. East Ward: Anthony Campos, Tanisha H. Garner, Jonathan T. Seabra. North Ward: Hellane T. Freeman, Pablo Olivera. West Ward: Marcellus T. Allen, Dereck L. Dillard, Lavita E. Johnson, Artice K. Norvell III. South Ward: Terrance L. Bankston, Khalil Kettles. Central Ward: Czezre T. Adams, Rafael A. Brito, Anthony D. Diaz, Jaime Gonzalez, Shawn X. Mccray, Basil Parker, Luther D. Roberson.
IRVINGTON: The township's current mayor is running unchallenged while an independent is hoping to unseat one of three incumbent at-large councilwomen.
Anthony "Tony" Vauss, barring an unanticipated write-in campaign, seems headed for being re-elected to a second term.
Vauss' "Team Irvington Strong" running mates are Councilwomen Renee Burgess, Charnette Frederic and Dr. October Hudley.
Barnes Reid, under his own "Time for a Change in Irvington" banner, is the sole challenger on the may 8 ballot.
ORANGE: The four incumbent ward council members have at least one challenger on this city's prospective ballot.
East Ward: Current Council President Kerry Coley, bearing his "Putting the East Ward First" flag, is seeking his second straight term. Coley mounted an unsuccessful bid to unseat Mayor Dwayne Warren in 2016.
Dawan A. Alford, bearing his "A Brighter Orange" pennant, is Coley's current official challenger.
Current Orange Board of Education member and city employee Wingfield-Hill may have to wait until April 2 for Judge Vena to hear her appeal.
Wingfield-Hill challenged Clerk Lanier's decision, before Vena March 13, to deny her candidacy certification March 6 based on the state's one-year minimum residency requirement. At issue is whether Lanier, as municipal clerk, has the authority or responsibility to enforce that statute.
Wingfield-Hill, who launched her campaign Feb. 10, happens to be the niece of fellow OBOE member Jeffrey Wingfield and city public works supervisor Raymond Wingfield. She and J. Wingfield were appointed to the school board by her cousin - Mayor Warren.
Mayor Warren, as of March 13, has not endorsed any ward candidate.
North Ward: Councilwoman Tency Eason, running on her "Together We Build a Better Orange" slogan, is seeking re-election. Challenging is "Committed to Community Dedicated to Progress" candidate Sharief Williams.
The West Ward has shaped up to be a contest among the current and former councilman - and, pending Vena's decision on or past deadline, a newcomer.
Harold Johnson, who bills himself as "The Peoples Councilman Serving You," is being challenged by Hassan Abdul Rasheed. Rasheed, "Your Consistent Public Servant," was defeated by Johnson in 2014.
Michael Scott, should he submit documentation supporting his ward residency on or just past deadline, may be Johnson's second challenger. The 45-year North Ward resident moved into the West Ward on or around Jan. 16, 2017.
Lanier and Garcia argued March 13 that they were going solely by Scott's Essex County voting record in disqualifying him. Vena directed Scott to submit additional documents, including insurance and cell phone bills, to Garcia and Lanier as soon as possible.
The South Ward pits "Continuing Orange's Progress" incumbent Jamie Summers-Johnson against Orange Historical Commission member and "Transparency for Orange We Deserve Better" candidate Brandon K. Matthews.
Tracey A. Latta, depending on the source, fell either nine or 10 of the 37 valid signatures of registered residing ward voters. Latta has since gone on Facebook to launch her write-in campaign.