RIDGEFIELD – A cork pops on a bottle here in the community center where the supporters of Councilman Warren Vincentz await the results of tonight’s recall election.
It’s a dangerous sound prior to the conclusion of an election like this one, fraught with ironic implications that can return and haunt later in the event that the voters do not dethrone incumbent Democratic Mayor Anthony Suarez and install Vincentz.
Indeed, moments later a Vincentz supporter appears and says, “We lost.”
It’s not official, but the word is the recall election was unsuccessful.
“Unbelieveable,” Vincentz says.
The roughly 50 seniors here abandon the half-ravaged pizza boxes and nurse the wine homemade by Gonzalo Fernandez, a resident of Ridgefield for over 30 years.
“He won,” someone says, stunned.
“Jesus God,” says a voice.
Republican chairman Bob Avery makes an official announcement.
“Once again, the IQ test has been failed,” he tells the crowd. “I am sad to announce that Ridgefield has failed it’s collective intelligence.”
He reads the numbers: 985 wanted Suarez recalled and 1,023 wanted to leave him alone, a 38-vote difference in favor of the mayor.
“I don’t know,” a glum Vincentz tells PolitickerNJ.com when asked if he intends to challenge for the seat again.
“It’s a year and a half away,” he says.
The councilman’s supporters fume over the results.
“These people don’t know what’s going on in the town,” says Doris Kedes. “They don’t go to the council meetings. You go to the council meetings and Democrats get up to speak and insult the councilmen and the mayor sits there and laughs. I work for the borough. I’m going to be out of a job, but I don’t care.”
It turns out, had the voters made the recall happen, Vincentz would have won.
Avery posts the results on the wall: Vincentz 798 votes (53%), Acosta 636 (42%) and Gil 89 (5%).
Vincentz slumps into a chair, a glass of Fernandez’s wine in his hand.
“It’s a mix – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot,” says the winemaker. “And the grapes are from Chile.”