JERSEY CITY AND BEYOND – Two-term City Councilman Steven Fulop, a reform candidate in the Jersey City mayoral election, won a decisive victory over Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy Tuesday night, claiming more than 52 percent of the city’s vote to Healy’s 37.78 percent.
As had been predicted for weeks, several candidates running for City Council ward seats will face runoffs next month to determine who will serve in wards A, B, C, D, and F.
Fulop’s victory was solidified early on Election Day, however. Polls in Jersey City closed at 8 p.m. and by 8:25 there were already reports that Fulop had won all but one voting district in the Jersey City Heights, which is Healy’s home base.
Those early results proved to be a bellwether for much of the city and Healy conceded the election less than an hour later.
“The polling showed all along that it was neck and neck and that Jerry Walker’s votes probably wouldn’t be enough to trigger a runoff, whereas in the wards, it looked like there were competitive districts, so I kind of thought we were in the hunt to have this not go into a runoff,” Fulop said in a post-victory interview.
“I think that people looked at Mayor Healy as a very nice guy, but they had some concerns about his performance on some of the key issues, I think that’s fair to say,” Fulop added. “I think that any time anyone stays [in office longer than two terms], there’s fatigue that kind of settles in and if you don’t recognize that by yourself, the voters will recognize that for you.”
Also victorious were Ward E candidate Candice Osborne, who will take over Fulop’s current seat on the City Council, and Fulop’s three at-large candidates, City Councilman Rolando Lavarro Jr., Rev. Joyce Watterman, and Daniel Rivera.
Runoffs in nearly every ward
Fulop’s remaining ward candidates will face runoffs.
According to preliminary numbers from the Office of the City Clerk, in Ward A, former Superintendent of Schools Charles Epps Jr., who ran with Healy, won 43.48 percent of the vote and will face Frank Gajewski in a runoff. Gajewski received 37.76 percent of the vote.
In Ward B, Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, who ran with Fulop, won 37.76 percent of the vote, will face Gerald Meyers in a runoff. Meyers, a Healy candidate, received 33.94 percent of the vote.
Independent candidate Richard Boggiano edged out Ward C City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez, receiving 36.30 percent of the vote to Lopez’s 31.67 percent.
Another independent candidate, Jersey City Heights businessman Michael Yun, received 42.96 percent of the vote in Ward D over popular Assemblyman Sean Connors, who ran with Fulop. Connors received 34.44 percent of the vote.
In one of the most closely watched ward races, City Councilwoman Diane Coleman, received 42.72 percent of the vote in Ward F to Jermaine Robinson’s 41.66 percent. Coleman ran with Fulop, Robinson with Healy.
In the coming weeks Fulop said he will appeal to voters to send his candidates to the council.
“I’m going to make a strong case, as best as I can, to the voters that we have a platform, give us the benefit of the doubt to give these council people an opportunity to work with us,” Fulop stated. “In order to be as successful as possible, we need definitely need the tools and the people to do that.”
Fulop said that he and Healy have already spoken by phone and plan to meet in person in the near future to set up a transition process. – E. Assata Wright