The long count of absentees

HOBOKEN – Everything just ground to a halt here.

The door to the City Clerk's office is closed asthe countypours over fewer than 800absentee ballots that apparently will decide this runoff election between At-Large Councilman Peter Cammarano and 4th Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer.

Zimmer leads at the moment by 244 votes.

Her council slate of Ravi Bhallla (5,623 votes), Carol Marsh (5,621 votes), and Dave Mello (5,419 votes) has unofficially defeated Cammarano's slate of Vincent Addeo (4,953 votes), Angel Alicea (4,832) and Raul Morales (5,826 votes).

There are some groans of misery among B and R (born and raised) Hobokenites.

"Even if she loses, Dawn's still going to control the council," says one. "That's going to be a very strange arrangement if Pete wins."

"Watch your backs," cries a cop on Washington Street to the crowd of Cammaranodiehards, including West New York Mayor Sal Vega,that spills off the sidewalk in front of his headquarters on Hoboken's main drag.

Up the road, in Zimmer's HQ, supporters begin to enclose Bhalla in hugs.

"The mayor's race is tight, and our council candidates appear to have won," Zimmer campaign strategist Mike Lenz tells a few more supporters who huddle close for news.

Back at City Hall, the door to the clerk's office remains closed. Farina estimates the county clerk will have the absentees counted sometime within the next hour.

The long count of absentees