In the 2022 Bayonne municipal election, incumbent Mayor James Davis and his council slate have declared victory. Meanwhile City Council President and mayoral candidate Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski has said it’s still too close to call. And with the outstanding votes left, if a high enough percentage of them break for Ashe-Nadrowski, a runoff is possible.
The election also made history with the election of the city’s first Black council member.
Election results by the numbers
According to unofficial election results from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office, as of May 10 at 11 p.m. Davis leads Ashe-Nadrowski at 4,863 votes to her 4,084 votes; 50.81 percent of the vote to 42.67 percent. Results broadcast at the Team Davis election results viewing party at The Chandelier at 1081 Broadway match those numbers.
The third candidate, doctor and lawyer Mitchell Brown is in a distant third with 611 votes or 6.38 percent of the vote. There were 13 write-in votes or .14 percent. A total of 9,571 votes were cast for mayor with 100 percent of precincts reporting. For early voting, a total of 725 votes were cast, according to unofficial election results from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office. For mayor, they largely broke for Davis at 525 votes, followed by Ashe-Nadrowski with 167, and Brown with 36. There were 2 write-in votes.
In the First Ward, Team Davis Councilman Neil Carroll leads Ashe-Nadrowski-backed small businesswoman Julie Sanchez Lynch with 1,799 votes to her 1,243 votes, or 59 percent of the vote to 40.77 percent. There were seven write-in votes or .23 percent, making the total vote count 3,049 ballots cast in the First Ward race. For early voting, Carroll got 171 votes and Sanchez Lynch got 76, with two write-in votes.
In the Second Ward, Team Davis’ Jacqueline Weimmer leads Ashe-Nadrowski-backed real estate professional George Vinc with 1,195 votes to his 1,015 votes or 53.95 percent of the vote to his 45.82 percent. There were five write-in votes or .23 percent, bringing the total vote count in the Second Ward race to 2,215. For early voting, Weimmer got 154 votes while Vinc got 52 votes.
In the Third Ward, Team Davis Councilman Gary La Pelusa claimed victory with 1,804 votes over Ashe-Nadrowski-backed Board of Education President Maria Valado at 711 votes. There were only 367 votes for candidate Peter Franco, or 12.72 percent of the vote, as well as four write-ins at .14 percent. In total, 2,886 votes votes were cast in the Third Ward race. For early voting, La Pelusa got 156 votes, Valado got 39, and Franco got 18.
In the At-Large races, Team Davis retired police officer Loyad Booker leads with 4,127 votes or 25.08 percent of the vote, followed by Councilman Juan Perez with 3,414 or 20.74 percent. Following closely behind Perez is Ashe-Nadrowski backed Board of Education Trustee Jodi Casais with 3,283 votes or 19.95 percent of the vote, followed by “KT” Kim Torello with 2,686 votes or 16.32 percent.
Independent candidate Board of Education Trustee Denis Wilbeck is in fifth, with 2,392 votes or 14.53 percent of the vote and businesswoman and TEDxBayonne organizer Carissa Lintao is next with 540 votes or 3.28 percent. There were 15 write-in votes, or .09 percent, bringing the total votes cast in the two races to 16,457. For early voting, Booker got the most votes with 470, followed by Perez with 378, Casais with 154, Torello with 120, Wilbeck with 114, and Lintao with 27, as well as four write-in votes.
Ashe-Nadrowski not conceding
Following the preliminary results, Davis declared he and his team the victors.
“The people of Bayonne have spoken loud and clear that they want to keep our city moving forward for another four years with Team Davis,” Davis said in a statement. “I would like to thank my family, my running mates, our campaign team and most of all the residents of Bayonne for sending this strong message that we want continued progress for our community. I’m excited to get back to work tomorrow to keep delivering for the people of Bayonne.”
Despite the current lead in all the races, Ashe-Nadrowski did not concede, adding that she believes a runoff is imminent.
“The election remains too close to call,” Ashe-Nadrowski said in a statement. “It’s important that we make sure everyone’s vote was and is counted. I had hoped for a higher turnout, but considering the negative campaign it doesn’t surprise me that some people stayed home or were too intimidated to actually cast their ballots. We’re looking forward to reviewing the remaining vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. Given the data we have collected, we think round two will take place on June 14th.”
However, Ashe-Nadrowski and Valado did concede that La Pelusa won the Third Ward race. She congratulated him, noting he was the “clear winner” in the Third Ward.
“I congratulate him,” Valado told the Bayonne Community News concerning La Pelusa’s victory, noting that nothing would change for her as she continues her work on the Board of Education. “It was a great race run between me and him. It was a very polite race, we didn’t attack each other, just knocked on doors and met with the people.”
“I’m very excited about the win,” La Pelusa told BCN. “It was a very big win obviously. We worked really hard with just a very small group of people. I’m very excited. I feel like my wife was a driving force in the whole thing, and she’s shining over us and smiling down on me right now, me and my family.”
Runoff still possible, Ashe-Nadrowski remains optimistic
While Davis is in a good position to maintain the lead and seal the deal, a runoff is still possible given the outstanding votes that are left. To prevent a runoff, one candidate needs to get 50 percent of the vote plus one; Davis is currently at 50.8 percent. There are some 260 provisional ballots left to count, as well as a number of vote-by-mail ballots that could arrive, meaning that a runoff could occur if enough break for Ashe-Nadrowski. And Davis is about 80 votes ahead of where he needs to be to prevent a runoff.
Davis spokesperson Phil Swibinski said the campaign was confident that despite the outstanding votes, Davis and his team were ahead by a wide enough margin to declare victory. Although Swibinski did note that Perez was the candidate with the closest race, Team Davis was still nonetheless confident that a clean sweep would ultimately prevail.
Meanwhile, Ashe-Nadrowski and her team were waiting for every voted to be counted. At their election results viewing party at Villa Maria at 417 Broadway, BCN chatted with each member of Ashe-Nadrowski’s council slate.
“We are waiting for every vote to be counted,” Sanchez Lynch said.
“I’m confident,” Vinc said of his chances, waiting for the remaining ballots to be counted. “I mean, it’s not over until it’s over. Fingers crossed.”
“We’re still waiting on the rest of the results,” Casais said, also conceding that La Pelusa had won in the Third Ward. “Congratulations to Gary. He earned it.”
“They outspent us,” Torello said, describing his feelings on Election Night. “They had stacks of people and they turned the town blue. I think they suppressed the vote by doing that. However, there’s one thing they never did. They never outworked us… I guess we will find out the results soon enough… We worked our tails off. We never took a day off. It’s very hard to beat the incumbent, especially those that have been entrenched for a while. But if it falls that way, good luck to them.”
“I’m sorry but we can’t give you an answer tonight,” Ashe-Nadrowski said regarding the election results, telling a group of eager supporters gathered at her election results party that it was still too close to call. “So we have to wait.”
“It’s not over,” Ashe-Nadrowski told BCN.
Team Davis in full celebration mode
By the time the Bayonne Community News had gotten to The Chandelier, the victory party was in full swing. Each member of Team Davis celebrated their likely successful election, assuming the results remain the same, describing their reactions to BCN.
“It feels great to be re-elected, and to my first full term,” Carroll said. “It was excellent to be elected with this margin, but more importantly to be elected as part of this team. I look forward to working with each and every one of them. I said in every speech, this team has great minds and even greater hearts and I’m proud to work with each one of them.”
“I feel elated,” Weimmer said. “The Second Ward is my home. It’s where I’m from. It’s where my heart is. It’s absolutely exciting to be able to represent it on the council.”
“I’m ecstatic,” Booker said. “I’m proud to be a part of this team. I had faith and knew we had a bunch of smart people. I am looking forward to keeping this town moving forward. I’m proud to be the first African-American councilman-elect. I think it’s way overdue. It’s about time. And it paves the way for other people to become involved in city politics. I believe a lot of eyes are going to be opened, and a lot more people are going to get involved.”
“It’s wonderful,” Perez said. “This gives me an opportunity to continue serving the people of Bayonne. I represent the whole community at-large. I look forward to helping make the city continue to move forward.’
“I feel great,” Davis told BCN. “I think the voters sent a message that they like where the city is going and they want to keep going in that direction. It’s up to us now to listen to the people and give them what they want.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.