Democracy Defeated in Perth Amboy

PERTH AMBOY — Of the 13,866 city voters who participated in the 2012 election, 9,006 opted against casting their ballot for the incumbent who won re-election while only 35 percent of them did support Mayor Wilda Diaz.

Early morning discrepancies suggest that challengers had been denied the right to have observers at polling places where cheating could account for the incumbent’s advantage but sources say top ranked challenger Billy Delgado lacks resources needed to mount a legal effort to overturn the results.

Although he fell short in Election Day voting, Delgado received 721 mail-in ballots while Diaz got only 237 votes by mail, just 20 percent of those cast.

Had Delgado earned the support of those voters who instead selected Miguel Morales, Frank Salado or none of the mayoral candidates, he would have won the election.

Instead, only Diaz had representatives monitoring polling place activity during the morning on Nov. 6 because challenger credentials were not distributed to Delgado, Morales, Salado, Robert McCoy or Sharon Hubberman.

Diaz faced a large opposition field without having to go through a primary because the city has a non-partisan form of government and officials made no provision for a run-off when they moved the election to coincide with the presidential voting in November.

Consequently, a small minority of voters has returned Diaz to the helm at City Hall for another four years but there is already widespread discussion about local candidates emerging to face regular political organization candidates in the 2013 legislative primary. In particular, state Sen. Joseph Vitale is believed to be in danger of a Perth Amboy challenger because he played a key role in the Diaz campaign.

Such a battle could result in down-ballots shifts, as well. Assemblyman John Wisniewski is considering a race for the Democratic nomination for governor and freshman Assemblyman Craig Coughlin is said to have little political muscle of his own.

A contested primary would have a fair chance of success, since Democratic Party voters would have few other choices and the race might draw significant levels of attention.


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