The “Together We Can” slate swept the Board of Education election, according to unofficial results from the Hudson County Clerk.
Three seats were up for three-year terms. Three incumbents ran for reelection: President Maria Valado, Vice President Christopher Munoz, and Trustee Michael Alonso.
The “Together We Can” slate is composed of Valado, Munoz, and Dave “Doc” Watson. Alonso, who ran on the “Make Bayonne Great Again” slate, lost his seat on the board.
After the results were announced, the “Together We Can” slate posted a joint statement on social media:
“WE DID IT! CONGRATS TO ALL THREE MEMBERS OF THE TOGETHER WE CAN TICKET FOR WINNING ALL THREE OPEN SEATS! Thank you to all the voters who came out and submitted your ballots, we couldn’t have done it without you!”
A clean sweep
“The Together We Can” slate was endorsed by Mayor James Davis and the entire city council.
In total, 48,367 votes were cast. A total of 26 votes were cast for other candidates not on the ballot.
Valado won the most votes with 8,136, followed by Munoz with 7,928, and Watson with 7,460.
The victory makes Valado the first person to win three consecutive Board of Education elections since the district shifted to an elected board. Watson, a musician and former Band Director at Bayonne High School, also makes history as the first Black trustee elected to the board.
Running against the “Together We Can” slate was the “Responsibility, Integrity, and Care” slate, composed of Denis Wilbeck Jr., son of Trustee Denis Wilbeck, former Trustee Charles Ryan, and newcomer Andrew Kim.
Ryan, who narrowly lost re-election in 2019, fell short of winning a seat again in 2020.
Wilbeck Jr. came in fourth with 5,731 votes, followed by Ryan at 5,137, and Kim with 4,523.
Coming in last was the “Make Bayonne Great Again” slate consisting of Alonso, local media producer Michael Shatravka, and Charles Shepard. Traditionally a nonpartisan race, the Republicans aligned themselves with President Donald Trump, with their slogan echoing Trump’s “Make America Great Again.”
Residents have been calling on Alonso to resign since June. He made what many residents consider to be racist comments following the police killing of George Floyd. Alonso rejected calls for his resignation, saying he would leave it up to the voters.
Alonso has also faced widespread criticism following allegations that he didn’t want teachers to receive full pay for virtual instruction.
Shepard, who ran in 2019 but failed to gather enough votes, lost again this time around.
Alonso finished in seventh place with 4,021 votes, while Shepard and Shatravka trailed with 2,828 votes and 2,577 votes respectively.
Residents voted for Valado at a rate more than twice that of Alonso, 16.82 percent to 8.31 percent.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.