Following last week’s municipal election, runoffs will be held for City Council wards A, B, C, D, and F and all three at-large seats. Only two candidates, Mayor-elect Steven Fulop and Ward E City Councilwoman-elect Candice Osborne, passed the required 50 percent plus one voter threshold required to claim an outright victory on the first ballot.
Since then, however, several runoff candidates who were on the ticket headed by outgoing Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy have said they do not plan to campaign for the June 11 election. (For their names to be excluded from the ballot theses candidates will need to file a lawsuit against City Clerk Robert Byrne to force him to print ballots without their names.)
But Epps, who finished ahead of his nearest rival, Frank Gajewski, by a vote of 2,677 to 2,323, respectively, said today that he plans to move forward with his campaign.
In a letter sent to local news outlets, Epps wrote, “Although I am entering the June 11th runoff in first place, I know I am going into it as an underdog. I am going to have to fight a well-organized and fully funded Fulop Team, but fight I will. I will fight for your trust, I will fight for your vote, and if elected, I will fight for the residents of Ward A to give them a voice and an ally in City Hall.”
“I am not entering this race lightly,” Epps, the former Jersey City superintendent of schools, added in his letter. “I have met with neighborhood groups, I have spoken to residents, and I have heard your concerns. With this in mind I have created a Ward A Plan that I feel addresses many of the issues and concerns of the residents as well as builds upon some of the successful programs already in place. My focus will be on recreation, crime, jobs, and overall quality of life and have posted a full version of this plan on my website at www.charlesepps-warda.org…Please remember to vote on June 11 and I humbly ask you to consider me…on Election Day.”
At stake in the runoff election is whether the Fulop administration will have full control of the City Council. At least one Fulop-allied candidate is in the runoff in every ward that will have a runoff, and his three at-large candidates are also in the six-way at-large runoff.
Some voters who would like to see a voice of opposition on the council are trying to rally behind independent Ward C candidate Richard Boggiano, independent Ward D candidate Michael Yun, at-large candidate Viola Richardson, and Epps so that the City Council does not become a rubber stamp for Fulop’s policies. – E. Assata Wright