Kearny’s virtual Mayoral Debate set for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 17

From left, Santana, Doyle and Ferreira. Observer file photo

The three candidates running to become the first new mayor of Kearny since Alberto G. Santos ascended to the position on Jan. 1, 2000, will debate, virtually, at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Interim Mayor Peter P. Santana, a Democrat; Council President Carol Jean Doyle, a Democrat running as an unaffiliated candidate; and Sydney J. Ferreira, a Republican, will all square off as part of the Observer-sponsored, first-of-its-kind debate, in this area.

The Observer continues to collect questions from readers to be asked of all candidates and those may be submitted, by email, to Anyone who does not have access to email may send questions by snail mail to The Observer, 39 Seeley Ave., Kearny, N.J. 07032, Attn: Debate Questions. Members of town organizations, town business owners and members of the three labor unions (PBA, FMBA and CS-11) are encouraged to submit question. All questions must be submitted no later than noon, Friday, Oct. 13. When submitting questions, please advise us whether you want your name used as the poser of any questions to be asked.

Kevin A. Canessa Jr., longtime editor of The Observer, from February 2006 (with a short break in the late 2000s), will moderate the debate.

The debate will be broadcast live around the world on The Observer’s social-media pages including Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube and Kick. It will also be available at Registration is not required to view the debate. (Editors note: this debate will not be on Zoom in any form.) However, those who wish to view it may do so by watching on a computer, a mobile phone, on tablets like iPads and certain Smart TVs. Anyone with the ability to Aircast from a device to a flat-screen TV will be also be able to do so to watch the debate. It can also be broadcast to a TV using any number of devices like Chromecast, Fire Sticks, etc. Links will be provided as the date nears.

Shortly after the debate concludes, it will be available for viewing on all the aforementioned platforms in perpetuity.

None of the candidates will be provided any of the questions to be asked ahead of time.

Santana was first appointed to the Town Council in 2017 following the unexpected, tragic death of former Second Ward Councilman Jonathan Giordano. He ran opposed the following year and again in 2022. In 2023, he was the choice of five of eight members of the council to be appointed the interim mayor after Santos resigned to become a Superior Court Judge. He works as an IT administrator in the Harrison School System.

Doyle was first elected to the Kearny Council in an election in 1996 — one year after she last ran for mayor (against former Mayor Leo R. Vartan, Kearny’s last GOP mayor)  — and she has served on the governing body ever since. Initially, in running in for the top spot in 2023, she pledged to serve out the last two years of Santos’s unexpired term and then ride off into the sunset by retiring. But she has since changed her messaging, noting she would reconsider running again in 2025 after this term ends if she is to win in 2023. She has been involved, civically, in countless organizations, since the 1970s.

Ferreira is running for local municipal office for the third time in as many years. In 2021, he ran as a Democrat against Santos in a primary and lost. In 2022, he ran as an unaffiliated candidate in the general election and ultimately lost to current Councilman Stathis Theodoropoulous. Ferreira had taken out petitions to run for State Assembly on the GOP ticket in 2023, but opted, instead, to run for mayor when that seat opened up a few months ago. He’s a longtime real-estate (and banking) professional and currently works at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Coccia Realty’s Kearny office.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.