Primary Elections Are Today

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UNION COUNTY – In the area’s most closely watched contest, two Newark city councilmen, a state senator and the mayor of Irvington will face off in today’s Democratic Primary to determine the party’s nominee replace the late U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, who died in March. In Union County, the four contenders will be bracketed together in an open primary.

Payne’s son, Newark City Council President Donald M. Payne Jr., is also a Freeholder in Essex County, where his cousin, party Chairman Philip Thigpen, has awarded him the coveted organization line. State Sen. Nia Gill of Montclair was endorsed by the Hudson County Democratic organization. Newark Councilman Ron Rice has the backing of a number of local figures, including Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley. Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith rounds out the field’s leading contenders.

A special election to fill the remaining portion of the late Congressman’s term will be held on Nov. 6, the same time as the regular election for the 10th Congressional District seat. The district includes the Union County municipalities of Hillside, Linden, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, and part of Union Township. It also includes part of Hudson County and a large portion of Essex County. The 10th Congressional District is predominantly Democratic, so a victory in June almost guarantees a win in the November general election.

In other local Congressional races, Republicans Anna Little and Ernesto Cullari will face off for the right to challenge Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6), while Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ-7) is being challenged in the Republican Primary by conservative David Larsen. Democrat Upendra Chivukula will take on the winner in November.

At the local level, former Elizabeth city planning director Oscar Ocasio is challenging Mayor Christian Bollwage in the Democratic Primary. Running with Bollwage on the organization line are council members Manny Grova Jr., Frank Cuesta and Patricia Perkins-Auguste. Running on the opposition slate with Ocasio are Councilman Frank Mazza and Josue Anacius.

Grova and Mazza serve on the council representing the First and Sixth Wards, respectively, but are seeking city-wide Council-At-Large positions in this year’s election.

In Linden, school board member Lisa Orman is challenging First Ward Councilman Christopher Kolibas in the Democratic Primary. Christopher Cherubino is running unopposed in the 9th Ward Democratic Primary. The ward is currently represented by Councilman Robert Frazier, who was elected as an independent in 2006 and 2009. Independent candidates have until Tuesday to file their petitions to appear on November’s general election ballot.

City Council seats representing each of Rahway’s six wards are on the ballot this year, and two full slates are running in the Democratic Primary. In the First Ward, Rodney Farrar is running on the regular party line, Miriam Lugo is running with the “Democrats for Change” slogan and Wilbert Kirby is using the “It Is Time For A Change” slogan.

In the Second Ward, Councilman Michael Cox is running for re-election on the regular party line, against Scott Chaffee under the “Democrats for Change” slogan. Robert C. Bresenhan, Jr. is running for the Third Ward seat with the support of the Regular Democratic Organization against challenger Joseph J. Velotti.

Fourth Ward Councilman David Brown has the party line in his re-election bid; his challenger is former mayoral candidate Renee Bridges Thrash. In the Fifth Ward, Councilwoman Jennifer Maier is running for re-election on the organization line against Robert Huntley. Finally, in the Sixth Ward, Councilman Samson Steinman seeks re-election on the Regular Democratic Organization line; his challenger is Justin Fuson.

The Republican slate is Lawrence Bodine in the First Ward, Joseph Mikajlo in the Second Ward, Jeffrey Spatola in the Third Ward, Betty Ortiz in the Fourth Ward, James Barwick in the Fifth Ward and John Koenig in the Sixth Ward. None of the GOP candidates faces a primary challenge.

Roselle also has contested races for three Borough Council seats in the Democratic Primary. Running with the slogan “Democrats for the people!,” Eddie Rios Jr. is challenging Councilwoman Christine Dansereau, who is running on the party line, for a Council-At-Large seat. Republican Roger Stryeski is unchallenged.

In the Second Ward, Councilwoman Sylvia Turnage is seeking re-election on the “Democrats for the people!” slogan. She is being challenged by Ronald Hayman, the Democratic Party Organization candidate, and Erick Cedano, who is running under the slogan “Leadership With Integrity For Roselle.”

In the Fifth Ward, Councilman Roy Locke is running for re-election on the organization line. He is being opposed by Rosemarie Bullock, who is running under the “Energy and Integrity” slogan. No Republicans filed to run in either of the ward races.


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