Fundraising frontrunners go after each other in Orange mayor’s race

ORANGE – On the last full week of the mayor's race here, At Large Councilman Donald Page and West Orange Patrolman Eldridge Hawkins lead the pack in overall financial contributions and have opened up on each other in a mail war.

According to the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), Hawkins has raised $67,395, including $25,273 in the last period, leaving him with $19,146 in the bank.

Page has raised $41,148, including $11,210 in this period. He has a closing balance of $5,416, according to ELEC.

The Hawkins campaign did a lit. drop early this week that charges the councilman with racking up $21,000 of travel expenses over the years he has been in office, while the Page campaign blasted away at Hawkins’s short time as an Orange resident, noting that he voted in his first election herein June oflast year.

The Hawkins campaign says it's know-how and experience and educational background not number of years in the city.

"i talked just the other day to an elderly woman who told she was so happy to see Eldridge and to see that (Sen. Richard) Codey was with him," said campaign spokeswoman Linda Cofer Hawkins. "People see him as a great, fresh new face."

Michael Vieira, campaign manager for Page, said city council people are allocated $2,000 each year for travel and training, and says the councilmanduring his years inoffice has attendedAfrican-American conferences, the Black League of Cities, and the League of Municipalities in Atlantic City.

"He's saying he's lived in Orange for four years, why is he voting in West Orange," Vieira inquired of Hawkins.

Coming in third and fourth in overall fund-raising in this campaign are zoning board chair Janice Morrell ($18,174) and North Ward Councilwoman Tency Eason ($17,325).

The Orange Transcript today endorsed Morrell for mayor, praising her identification of the need for transparency at City Hall and her respect for process.

"In listening to Morrell, we believe she speaks about subjects with heart and conviction," the endorsement read in part. "The seriousness in her answers shows she will not become a figurehead leader. Janice Morrell will do right by the residents."

The candidate said in response to the endorsement, "I’m surprised primarily because one of the candidates didn’t participate in the interview. Despite repeated phone calls to attend, Donald didn’t attend. I don’t know if there’s sufficient hubris there to say they’re taking things for granted, but it is strange."

TheLocal Talk newspapertoday did not endorse a candidate for mayor. Fundraising frontrunners go after each other in Orange mayor’s race