PERTH AMBOY — Seven candidates for mayor and eight City Council candidates filed petitions by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline for the Nov. 6 nonpartisan elections, but observers say the contest is already shaping up to be a two-way race.
Six challengers are running against Mayor Wilda Diaz, who is completing her first four-year term in office, include Billy Delgado, Jose Cameron, Sharon Hubberman, Frank Salado, Miguel Morales and Robert McCoy.
Diaz, who is running with Council candidates Lisa Nanton and Fernando Irizarry, expects her chief rival to be Delgado, who sought election as mayor in 2004 and is allied with Council contenders Jose Santos, a local school vice principal, and Ana Maria Mascenik, an Obama delegate attending the Democratic National Convention.
McCoy, who finished a 2010 council campaign with ballots from fewer than four percent of the registered voters, is running with two council candidates, newcomer Damaris Ramirez and David Szilagyi, who was ousted when he ran for re-election four years ago on a ticket with disgraced ex-Mayor Joe Vas.
Once a municipal judge appointed by Vas, Cameron is running with council candidate Angel Leon, while James Aleck is running for the governing body independent of any mayoral nominee.
No council candidates would associate themselves with Hubberman, a Tea Party activist; Salado, a longtime Carteret resident who moved into the city just so he could run for mayor; or Morales, a sanitation worker whose campaign is being funded by taxpayers as a $24,000 settlement awarded by Diaz after he filed a lawsuit against the city.
This is the first time that voters will elect municipal candidates in November. Previously, the nonpartisan elections had been conducted in May, but the governing body voted to switch their election dates to November as a cost-saving measure.