A voter’s guide to 2022 elections in Hudson County

Congressional, county, and school board races will be taking place across the county

This November will feature a multitude of elections happening across Hudson County. Photo via Shutterstock.

By Mark Koosau and Daniel Israel

With summer disappearing into the rearview mirror, Election Day will soon arrive in Hudson County in November, when a number of elections ranging from the congressional midterms to local school boards will be held across the county. Here is a rundown of who is running, where they are on the ballots, and how to vote.

Congressional races

The most prominent races this year include the three Hudson County-related congressional seats, the 8th, 9th and 10th districts, in this year’s federal midterms, which will determine whether Democrats or Republicans will control the House of Representatives. The primaries for the party nominees took place back in June.

During the Hudson County ballot drawing that took place on Aug. 15, Republicans were drawn into the first column on the left, while Democrats got the second column.

In the 8th District, a new representative will be guaranteed after Democratic Rep. Albio Sires declined to run for reelection this year after being in Congress since 2006, and is planning a run to become West New York’s mayor again.

Republican Marcos Arroyo is facing Democrat Robert Menendez Jr., an attorney and commissioner on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who won a three-way Democratic primary in a landslide in June. He is also the son of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who formerly held the same seat his son is seeking.

Democrat Robert Menendez Jr., photo by Mark Koosau

The 8th District includes Hoboken, Bayonne, North Bergen, Guttenberg, West New York, Union City, Weehawken, Hoboken, Harrison, East Newark, the northern half of Jersey City and the southern half of Kearny.

Over in the 9th Congressional District, Republican Billy Prempeh, a former Air Force veteran who had linked himself to the QAnon conspriacy theory, is taking on a 2020 rematch against Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., who is seeking a 14th term in office. The 9th district is a Paterson-based seat that includes Secaucus and the northern half of Kearny.

Then in the 10th Congressional District, Republican David Pinckney is facing Democratic Rep. Donald Payne Jr., who won a three-way primary in June and is seeking a fifth term in office. The 10th district is a Newark-based seat that includes the southern half of Jersey City.

The 8th, 9th and 10th districts are considered “solid Democratic” seats, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis.

County Sheriff and Clerk races

In Hudson County, the county-wide seats of the Sheriff and Clerk’s offices will be up for election. The Republican and Democratic candidates will appear in the first and second columns respectively as well.

Republican Kolani Hussain is facing Democratic incumbent Frank Schillari for County Sheriff, with Schillari seeking an unprecedented fifth term. Meanwhile, Republican Beth Hamburger, a businesswoman and former State Legislature candidate, is facing Democratic incumbent E. Junior Maldonado for County Clerk, with Maldonado seeking a second term.

Hudson County is considered one of the most Democratic leaning counties in all of New Jersey.

Jersey City Board of Education election

Board of Education elections across a number of Hudson municipalities will be taking place this year, with a few prominent towns seeing packed fields.

In Jersey City, eight candidates that consists of two slates of three and two independents will be running for three of the available seats. One candidate is guaranteed to be a new trustee after Board President Gerald Lyons declined to run for reelection this year.

The “Education Matters” slate drew the first three positions on the ballot with Trustee Noemi Velaquez, Christopher Tislade, a public school teacher in Englewood per his LinkedIn, and Afaf Muhammed, a Hudson County Democratic committee person and former independent candidate.

Jersey City school board trustees Trustee Noemi Velazquez and Alexander Hamilton, left and right respectively. Photo illiustration by Terri Bish via screenshots from the School District of Jersey City on Facebook.

The two independents running got the next two positions, with Isnel Sanon, the CEO of Sanon Global, a tax service firm, and formerly with the NAACP, and Ahsan Nawaz, a real estate agent at Weichert, getting the fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Lastly, the “Change for Children” slate got the last three spots on the ballot, with Trustee Alexander Hamilton, Doris “Toni” Ervin, an adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College who also ran on the same slate last year, and Kenny Reyes getting spots six through eight respectively.

The “Education Matters” slate is traditionally backed by the Jersey City Education Association union, a branch of the statewide New Jersey Education Association, while “Change for Children” has gotten financial backing from a number of real estate firms.

Hoboken Board of Education election

Over in Hoboken, a packed eight-candidate field is running for the city’s school board following the wake of the failed January referendum to build a $241 million new high school. At least two new people will join the board after incumbent Trustees Sheillah Dallara and Joyce Simons declined to run for reelection this year.

Patricia Waiters, a local activist and perennial candidate, got the top spot on the ballot as an independent.

Below her on positions two to four will be the “Leadership that Listens” slate with Leslie Norwood, a member of the Hoboken Public Education Foundation, Antonio Graña, a member of the city’s Zoning Board, and Trustee Alex De La Torre on spots two through four.

The fifth spot will have John Madigan, a one-term school board member running for his old job as an independent.

The sixth through eight spots will lastly have the “Kids First” slate with Pavel Sokolov, the chairman of the Hudson County Young Republicans, Cindy Wiegand, a market researcher and former City Council candidate, and Donna Magen.

Mary Jane Desmond, file photo.

Bayonne Board of Education election

In Bayonne, nine candidates have filed to run in the Board of Education election for four seats that are up for grabs for a varying amount of years. At least three new board members will be seated following the election, considering the retirement of three incumbents.

The terms of Trustees Lisa Burke, Jan Patrick Egan, and Denis Wilbeck are expiring, but none are running for re-election. Their seats are available for a term of three years each.

The fourth board seat available is for a term of one year. Trustee Hector Gonzalez, Jr.’s term is expiring after he was appointed in January of this year, and he is running for re-election on the “Together We Can” slate with: former Board of Education Trustee and former City Councilwoman Mary Jane Desmond; Miriam Bechay, a junior at NJIT majoring in Biomedical Engineering who has worked on political campaigns in the city; and William Young.

The candidates on the “Together We Can” slate will face the “Voices For Progress” slate, which features: previous candidate and educator Gina Irizarry; Angelique Jackson-Belle, President of the Board of Directors of the Bayonne Youth Center; Ali Hassan, co-founder and CEO of Crescent Crypto Asset Management; and Saverio “Sam” Maggio, a Democratic committee person in the Second Ward.

Gonzalez drew the first spot on the ballot, with Desmond in the second spot, and Young in the third spot. Maggio drew the fourth ballot position, Jackson-Belle drew the fifth, and Irizarry drew the sixth. They are all seeking the three-year terms.

Running independent of a slate on the “Education is Freedom” ticket is Jahnbaz Almas, a board member of the Bayonne Education Foundation. He is running for a three-year term, and drew the seventh spot on the ballot.

From “Together We Can,” Bechay drew the eighth ballot spot, and from “Voices For Progress,” Hassan drew the ninth position on the ballot. They are seeking the one-year term, and are not bracketed with the rest of their respective tickets.

Kelli D’Addetta (left) and Nicholas Mattiello (right), file photos.

Secaucus Board of Education and municipal elections

In the upcoming Secaucus school board election, five candidates are seeking three open seats for a term of three years each.

The terms of incumbents Board President Jack McStowe, Trustee Kathy O’Connell, and Trustee Jayesh Patel are expiring and all three trustees are not seeking re-election. The move will see one third of the nine-member board be replaced by new trustees, including the seat of the long-time Board President.

Christina DeBari, Alexander de Hombre, and former Trustee Kelli Ann Conroy D’Addetta are running on the “For the Children” slate, and already have the endorsement of the outgoing board members. Both de Hombre and D’Addetta ran in the 2021 school board election, with D’Addetta coming within a few hundred votes of winning a seat on the board under the same aforementioned slogan although independent of a slate.

Challenging that slate is Nicholas Mattiello and Monica Berckes, running on the “Keep Moving Forward” slate. Berckes is a mother of two children in the district and Mattiello is currently a Manager of Product Marketing at Greenway Health, an adjunct professor at Brookdale Community College, and a volunteer firefighter.

D’Addetta drew the first ballot position, followed by de Hombre with the second, and DeBari with the third. Mattiello drew the fourth ballot position, and Berckes drew the fifth.

Secaucus is also holding a municipal election in November, when three Town Council seats will be up for grabs. The terms of First Ward Councilman John Gerbasio, Second Ward Councilman James Clancy, Sr., and Third Ward Councilwoman Orietta Turci-Tringali are expiring.

The three incumbents are running unopposed on the “Moving Secaucus Forward” slate, with no challengers having filed to run against them. The same thing happened last year when Mayor Michael Gonnelli and his council slate consisting of First Ward Councilman Robert Costantino, Second Ward Councilman Mark Dehnert and Third Ward Councilman Bill McKeever ran unopposed for re-election and sailed to victory without obstacle.

How to vote

Residents have until Oct. 18 to register to vote for the upcoming general election. Early voting will take place from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6., and residents also have until Nov. 1 to apply for a mail-in ballot. The general election will take place on Nov. 8. To find more info on how to vote, visit www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voter-registration.shtml.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com. Mark Koosau can be reached at mkoosau@hudsonreporter.com or his Twitter @snivyTsutarja.