The polls are open in New Jersey

Norman Rockwell, Election Day, 1944. Photo: Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.)

Hello, New Jersey.

It’s Election Day and polls are now open in eleven municipalities across the state that hold nonpartisan municipal elections.

The most closely watched races take place in Bayonne and Paterson, where incumbent mayors are re-elected. Less competitive is the contest for mayor of Newark, but there are four ward council seats up for grabs.

And voter turnout in Union City, despite Mayor Brian Stack and his unopposed slate, is still a sight to behold. Stack is New Jersey’s GOTV king.

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis takes on City Council Speaker Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski in her bid for a third term. The presence of a third candidate, Dr Mitchell Brown, means the race will potentially not be decided until a runoff in June. Two city council seats are also up.

Two of the defiant councilors Paterson Mayor André Sayegh is currently indicted for electoral fraud. Along with Alex Mendez and Michael Jackson, Sayegh faces off against Councilman Luis Velez and Aslan Goow, a former councilman who may or may not live in Paterson. There is no runoff in Paterson. Three city council seats are also on the ballot.

newark Mayor Ras Baraka appears confident in his bid for a third term against Sheila Montague, who lost a few school border races. With four council members unopposed — along with North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos — the real drama in Newark is in the contests for the Central, East, South and West Ward seats on the City Council.

Central Ward councilor LaMonica McIver, first elected in 2018 as the council’s youngest member, faces a rematch with 2018 nominee Shawn McCray.

In the East Quarter, traditionally the Portuguese quarter of the city, the race seems to have been limited to three candidates, all Portuguese Americans and all former police officers.

Michael Silva has the backing of retired Councilman Augusto Amodor and Assembly Budget Chair Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark), the two most prominent Portuguese lawmakers in the state; Louis Weber runs on the Baraka slate; and Anthony Campos nearly overthrew Amodor in 2018, losing by just 83 votes. Supermarket owner Jonathan Seabra, who ran in 2018 and won 9% of the vote in the first round, is also in the running.

Baraka’s choice for the South Ward is Pat Council, Democratic City Chairman for the South Ward, but the council faces no less than six opponents in the race to succeed incumbent councilor John Sharpe James, the former mayor’s son. 2018 nominee Terrance Bankston is also a candidate, as are Christina Cherry, Douglas Freeman, Trenton Jones, Cynthia Truitt-Rease and Altarik White.

In the West Ward, Baraka supports rapper Dupré Kelly against former South Ward councilor Oscar James and lawyer Chigozie Onyema; Also in the running are Lyndon Brown, Lavita Johnson, who came third when she ran for the same seat in 2018, and Michelle Lyn Middleton. The winner will succeed Councilman Joseph McCallum, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

Four years after dethroning a three-term incumbent, Beautiful city Mayor Michael Melham faces a challenge from Steve Rovell, a WWII city councilman. A pair of general council seats are also up this year.

In OceanCity, Mayor Jay Gillian is seeking a fourth term against Councilman Keith Hartzell. Three council seats are also on the ballot.

Thirteen candidates are running for four seats on the neighborhood council in Orange. Three of the four wards have incumbents running for re-election. In the North Ward, Councilwoman Tency Eason takes on Sharief Williams, whom she easily beat in 2018, and Kami Willis; in the East Ward, Councilman Kerry Coley is challenged by Fatima Turner and school board member Tyrone Tarver; and in the South Ward, Councilwoman Jamie Summers Johnson – who won by just three votes four years ago – will face James Ward and 2020 council candidate Lynval James. The West Ward, meanwhile, is a four-way race to succeed Councilman Harold Johnson between Quantavia Hilbert, Jonathan Beckford, Genoria Jenkins and Mohamed Toure.

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss is facing Paul Inman, a former councilman, is his bid for a third term. Three council seats are also up.

One of the biggest stories of the May 2018 election was the defeat of 28-year-old long branch Mayor Adam Schneider by John Pallone, former councilman and brother of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. This year, Pallone and his list of councilors are unopposed.

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and his list of incumbents are unopposed.

Two municipal councilors in office Keansburg are unopposed.

Trenton, Ridgewood and Newton were missing from the May municipal election slate four years ago. All three have moved their local, nonpartisan races to November.

Polling stations close at 8 p.m.

Click on HERE to download Joey Fox’s New Jersey Globe Spring 2022 Voter’s Guide to Municipal and Primary Elections.

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