ELIZABETH – Four-term Mayor Chris Bollwage easily defeated political newcomer Edward Bryant Koon in Elizabeth’s Democratic primary.
Bollwage won by more than 3,000 votes, 4,896 to 1,815 according to unofficial totals.
Koon, a senior officer at the Union County Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabeth, made crime and property taxes the top issues of his campaign.
“I believe that our city needs a change,” said the challenger. “Taxes have increased, we have serious gang problem and crime going on in our community, and I believe City Hall should make an effort to deal with crime.”
Bollwage argued that he has not ignored the city’s crime problem, pointing to after-school activities, expansion of the D.A.R.E. program and other public relations efforts.
Still, while Koon called for change, the majority of voters opted instead to maintain the status quo.
Bollwage’s win paves the way for the mayor’s fifth term, giving him 20 years in office.
No Republicans filed to run in November’s general election, so the mayor is unlikely to face any further opposition in his re-election bid.
City Council members Edward Jackus, Patricia Perkins and Frank Cuesta also won re-election.
They defeated a slate of candidates running with Koon that included former Councilman Sammy Rodriguez, George O’Grady and Armando DaSilva.
According to the unofficial results, Cuesta won 3,906 votes, Perkins 3,829, Jackus 3,747 votes, DaSilva 2,227, Rodriguez 2,199 and O’Grady 2,100.
Also re-nominated were incumbent freeholders Angel Estrada of Elizabeth, Rick Proctor of Rahway and Nancy Ward of Linden, who handily out-polled a field of five challengers to win the Democratic primary.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!