If Trenton Public Works Director Eric Jackson holds his three-vote lead, he will face former Mercer County Freeholder Tony Mack in a June 15 runoff election for Mayor of Trenton. Jackson is a political ally of outgoing Mayor Douglas Palmer, and is almost sure to get his support against Mack, a rival who challenged the incumbent four years ago. A key player is Councilman Manny Segura, also a political foe of Palmer, who came amazingly close to a runoff spot; his endorsement – perhaps for Mack – becomes exponentially important.
The Trenton mayoral race featured relatively anemic fundraising for all eleven candidates; that might change now that the field is narrowed and potential investors explore their interests. If Palmer, who remained officially neutral through yesterday, endorses Jackson – the results indicate he essentially has – a Mack victory could affect the political landscape in Mercer County.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker won, but with just 59% of the vote — far below his 75% showing of 2006. Booker outspent Clifford Minor, a former judge and prosecutor, by a 15-1 margin, but still lost the South Ward. One Booker ally lost his City Council seat and another faces a runoff, but Booker can take solace in the defeat of John Sharpe James, the son of his predecessor, in an At-Large Council race.
The upset victory of Jeffrey Jones, who openly flirted with an endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie last year, over two-term Mayor Joey Torres could affect the political future of State Sen. John Girgenti (D-Hawthorne) next year. A Torres backer, Girgenti faces the continued obstacle of being a White male in a legislative district where African American and Hispanic voters outnumber White voters. Noteworthy in the Paterson mayoral race: Torres outspent Jones by a 17-1 margin.
In Bridgeton, Mayor James Begley, a Republican, won just 23% of the vote in a two-candidate race; he lost to City Council President Albert Kelly, who becomes Bridgeton’s first African American Mayor. West Orange did what West Orange is supposed to do: elect a Democrat, albeit by an incredibly narrow margin. Councilman Bob Parisi beat John Schmidt, a Republican, by 160 votes in a town where Jon Corzine beat Christie 60%-33%.
Expect Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider, who easily won re-election to a sixth term, to aggressively pursue clearing his name after federal cooperating witness Solomon Dwek implicated him in a bribery scheme late last week. Clearly the issue backfired on Schneider’s main opponent, Councilman Brian Unger. Unger’s defeat is a loss for the Monmouth County Democratic Party, which actively backed his candidacy in the non-partisan race.
State Sen. Brian Stack blew his opponent away in his bid for re-election as Mayor of Union City. His 10-1 margin, which followed a 4-1 win in Union City in the 2007 Democratic State Senate primary, enhances his standing as a candidate for Hudson County Democratic Chairman next month. Another landslide came in Bayonne, where Mayor Mark Smith easily beat Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone. Chiappone, indicted last year on state corruption charges, is probably the most vulnerable Assembly incumbent going in to the 2011 mid-term elections.