The opposition slate pounded incumbent East Newark Borough Council members Hans Peter Lucas and Jeanne Zincavage with a huge majority on absentee ballots but it wasn’t enough to unseat them.
Voting results from the June 3 municipal Democratic primary election showed Lucas netting a total of 310 machine votes and Zincavage, 305, with challengers Gianni Donates and Michael Magliotti collecting 62 and 67 votes, respectively. (No Republicans ran.)
Mail-in (absentee) ballots, however, were another story. According to Borough Clerk Robert Knapp, the tally reported by the Hudson County Board of Elections had Donates and Magliotti credited with 102 absentee votes each, while Lucas and Zincavage had just seven apiece.
Provisional votes weren’t available.
Knapp certified the election results last week, with the total vote recorded as follows: Lucas, 317; Zincavage, 312; Magliotti, 169; and Donates, 164. So, the incumbents carried the day by a margin of a bit less than 2-1 and will run unopposed in the November general election.
The challengers outspent the incumbents on election-related expenses, including newspaper advertisements that faulted the Democratic establishment for, in their view, mismanaging borough funds and causing taxes to rise. Mayor Joseph Smith, who campaigned for Lucas and Zincavage, countered that his administration was spending prudently and resorting to shared services when feasible to save money.
Knapp said that the challengers have, thus far, not requested a recount.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Harrison, a unified team of Democratic incumbents, led by Mayor James Fife, will be seeking voter approval to continue in office in November.
Fife, who was appointed to fill the seat of the late Mayor Raymond McDonough earlier this year, will be running for a full term as the town’s chief executive. He’ll be opposed by Eric Brachman, who garnered 31 machine votes in last Tuesday’s primary as the Republican nominee.
On the Town Council front, independent Ramon Rodriguez will face off against Councilman Anselmo Millan in the Second Ward, while Councilmen Jesus Huaranga, Laurence Bennett and James Doran, in the First, Third and Fourth Wards, respectively, have no opposition.
No Republicans filed to run for the council in Harrison.
And, in Kearny, where all Democrats sit on the governing body, incumbent Town Council members Albino Cardoso, Eileen Eckel and Susan McCurrie will be running unopposed for seats in the First, Third and Fourth Wards, respectively, while newcomer Jonathan Giordano will be seeking a Second Ward seat in place of incumbent Laura Pettigrew, who is not seeking re-election, in November.
– Ron Leir