With just one day left until voters will get to cast ballots for the May municipal elections, PolitickerNJ decided to do a round up on which races to watch.
- Teaneck. The Teaneck council race has seven candidates vying for three spots on the city council. Stephen Gruber, Chondra Young, Michael Pagan and Jacob Herenstein are challenging incumbents Mohammed Hameeduddin, Henry Pruitt and Mark Schwartz. The race was complicated even further after the unexpected death of Teaneck Mayor Lizette Parker left the town shaken and installed Deputy Mayor Elie Katz as mayor until a likely November election to fill the open council spot that Parker had occupied before her passing. In Teaneck, the mayor is chosen by the council from among their ranks. Katz has said that a new mayor will likely be decided at the July reorganization meeting and that the new councilmember elected in the special election will join the already-selected mayor and deputy mayor on the council.
- Paterson. Incumbents from the city’s five wards will face off against a slew of challengers come Tuesday. In Ward 2 incumbent Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman is facing three challengers, Eddie Gonzalez, Shahin Khalique and former councilman Aslon Goow. In that race, Khalique has spent an eye-popping $90,000 according to NorthJersey.com. Mail in ballots have also gotten Ward 2 some attention. So far, over 2,000 mail in ballots have been requested. Another Ward where drama is high is Ward 6 where incumbent councilman Andre Sayegh is facing off against Mayor Joey Torres-backed Al Abdelaziz. The two men have been trading barbs since the race began. Most recently, Sayegh accused Abdelaziz of violating a Paterson ordinance and posting flyers on utility poles. That accusation comes after repeated attacks by Abdelaziz about Sayegh’s filings with ELEC. While races in wards 1, 3, 4 and 5 have been less messy to this point, victories in any of Paterson’s wards could bring a real shakeup to the city council and the priorities they push.
- Orange. Incumbent Mayor Dwayne Warren is facing a challenge from Councilman Kerry Coley. Attacks have been making the rounds in the city and a lawsuit was even filed by Coley against Warren for allegedly defaming him. Janice Morrell is also running for the mayor’s seat. Three at-large council seats are also up for grabs.
- Irvington. There are four available ward seats in Irvington. Four incumbents backed by Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss (David Lyons, Sandy Jones, Paul Inman and Councilman Vern Cox ) are being challenged by Kathy Southerland, Al-Tariq Shabazz and Merrick Harris. In 2014, Vauss faced recall over allegations that he forced an employee to have sex with him. Vauss denied those claims and continued in office. The recall was abandoned.
- Montclair. The only incumbent who has a challenger in this Essex County town is Councilman Sean Spiller who also serves as the secretary/treasurer of the NJEA. Spiller is being challenged by Maureen Edelson. Spiller got some media attention earlier this year when a judge ruled that Spiller should step down from his position on the Board of School Estimate. The judge ruled that because of Spiller’s position with the NJEA and the fact that he is a teacher, there was a conflict of interest associated with him being on the board that decides the school budget.