In Light of Corruption Charges, Who Might Step Up as the Next Paterson, NJ Mayor?

Mayor Torres faces a six-count corruption charge

Joey Torres
Max Pizarro for Observer
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. The district 35 assemblyman would likely be the odds on favorite in the event he decides to enter the race for Paterson mayor. He is popular in the assembly, well-known in the city and comes with a huge following. However, according to a Paterson source, the assemblyman has not made his intentions known, leaving the door open to some speculation about whether or not he has interesting in pursuing the position of mayor.
Max PIzarro for Observer
Councilman Alex Mendez. The at-large councilman has the potential to get the support of Paterson’s Dominican population. He has made his intentions to run for mayor clear (thought not official), something that will allow him to lock up support early, especially as Torres continues to weaken.
City of Paterson
Councilman Andre Sayegh. Like Mendez, the ward 6 councilman has all-but announced his intentions to run for mayor. Sayegh has already run for mayor—and came in second to Torres in 2014—which means he has already started building a coalition that could help him in a future mayoral race. Sayegh is also a known Torres rival, something that will help him in an election where voters will likely be looking to avoid ties to corruption.
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Former Deputy Mayor Pedro Rodriguez. Late in 2016, Rodriguez stepped down as deputy mayor due to disagreements with Torres. That decision will likely help Rodriguez—who is experienced in multiple levels of government—to create contrast between himself and the Torres administration he was once a part of. He has acknowledged that he is a weighing a mayoral run. Like Mendez, Rodriguez is Dominican. If both men enter the race, they could split the vote of the fast-growing Paterson community.
The City of Paterson
Councilman Bill McKoy. There are mumblings that the city council president may be weighing a run at Torres’s seat. However, according to a source, McKoy is still on the fence about making his candidacy official and wants to see who else gets into the race before making a final choice.
City of Paterson
Councilman Mike Jackson. The first ward councilman is African American, something that one insider said would leave him competing for some of the same votes as both Wimberly and McCoy if he decided to enter the race. Even so, his name is being floated as a possible contender in a special election or in May 2018.
City of Paterson

New Jersey Attorney General Chris Porrino announced corruption charges against Paterson Mayor Jose Torres and three city employees on Tuesday. The mayor has sworn he will not step down but, according to Porrino, a conviction would mean Torres would have to forfeit his seat.

Because Torres only has one year left on his term, it is possible that he will be able to run out the clock and reach the May 2018 municipal election as mayor. Even if he does reach May 2018, however, chances are slim that Torres’s already-damaged reputation would give the mayor a viable path to re-election. Conviction or not, it is likely Torres will sit out future elections in Paterson. With Torres now facing a six count-indictment, a special election is also a possibility.

So who might replace Torres and become Paterson’s next mayor?

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