The filing deadline for the May 9, 2006 Municipal Elections is March 16th. Bayonne: Mayor Joseph Doria, a State Senator, is being challenged by attorney Vincent Militello, who ran for State Senator against Glenn Cunningham and L. Harvey Smith in the 2003 Democratic primary. Militello, who finished third, was viewed as the spoiler for the Hudson County Democratic Organization in that race — which cost Doria his Assembly seat. Doria easily defeated former Mayor Richard Rutkowski in 2002, and incumbent Mayor Leonard Kiczek in 1998. Belleville: Mayor Gerald Digori faces former Township Manager Raymond Kimble. Councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke, the Democratic Municipal Chairman, is reportedly considering a bid for Mayor. Digori is also a Democrat; he defeated incumbent Angelina Paserchia, who was part of Richard Yanuzzi’s then-powerful local GOP machine, in 2002. Gloucester Township: Mayor Sandra Love is not seeking re-election. Love has served as Mayor since 1994, when she took office following the death of her sister-in-law, Ann Mullen. Irvington: Mayor Wayne Smith was elected in 2002, defeating Assemblyman Craig Stanley and Councilwoman Sandra Harte after the incumbent, Sara Bost, was convicted on federal corruption charges. Harte is challenging Smith again this May. Jackson: Jackson Township voted to change their form of government last November to a strong Mayor and a five-member Council elected At-Large elected in non-partisan elections. There are more than two dozen candidates in the mix, many of whom want to be Mayor. Unless a coalition emerges, there is a possibility of a wildly competitive contest this fall. Republicans won 3-2 control the town in 2005, but Councilman Joshua Reilly, saying he wanted to become independent of party bosses, switched from the GOP to Independent in January — less than two months after winning re-election. The Mayor is Democrat Sean Giblin. Long Branch: Mayor Adam Schneider is seeking re-election to a fifth term with the same council office slate that has held office with him since 1990. Schneider, a Democrat, has managed to surmount several failed efforts by Congressman Frank Pallone to unseat him, including a difficult election in 1994 when Pallone ran his brother against Schneider. Manchester: Mayor Michael Fressola is seeking re-election and does not yet have an opponent. Newark: All eyes are on Mayor Sharpe James, who has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election to a sixth term. Former City Councilman Cory Booker has not stopped running since he nearly ousted James four years ago. If James doesn’t run, possible candidates include State Senator Ronald Rice, Sr. and Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo. Also running is David Blount, the President of the University Heights Science Park Residents Association. Ocean City: Mayor Bud Knight is retiring after fourteen years in office. Councilmen Jody Alessandrine, who nearly defeated Knight in 2002, is running again, along with Councilman Frank McCall and Salvatore Perillo, a former Atlantic County Counsel and Newark Corporation Counsel. Paterson: Mayor Joey Torres became the city’s first Latino Mayor in 2002, when he defeated incumbent Martin Barnes. Barnes had been under indictment for on charges that he accepted expensive gifts, luxurious vacations and female companionship from city vendors; he was released from federal prison last Friday. Former Police Chief James Spagnola and Rev. James Kuykendall are challenging Torres. Stafford: Mayor Carl Block, who is also the Ocean County Clerk, is a lock for re-election. He has no opposition, although his longtime rival, former Mayor Wesley Bell, could always run. Bell has become a perennial candidate in recent years; he ran as an Independent for Governor in 2005. Trenton: Mayor Douglas Palmer faces Mercer County Freeholder Tony Mack, John Harmon, the President of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce, and candlemaker Frank Weeden. West Orange: Incumbent John McKeon, a Democratic State Assemblyman, has only one opponent, according to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission: Councilman John Skarbnik. But Skarbnik, the West Orange Democratic Municipal Chairman, may have only filed a mayoral campaign committee in case McKeon does not seek re-election. One of the stakeholders in this race is Senate President Richard Codey, a strong McKeon ally who served as Deputy Mayor of West Orange under McKeon while he was serving as Governor last year.