EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange City Council Chairman and 3rd Ward Councilman Ted Green and his Team Green in 2017 running mates swept to victory in the Democratic Party primary on Tuesday, June 6.
According to Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin’s office and the county Board of Elections, Green beat his two opponents John Thompson Jr. and Kenwyn Williams with 6,215 of 6,962 total votes, compared to 661 and 76 votes respectively, with 10 write-in votes, for 89.27 percent of the vote.
In the 1st Ward, Green teammate Councilman Chris James received 99.61 percent of the vote, with 1,273 total votes and 5 write-in votes.
In the 2nd Ward, Green teammate Councilman Romal Bullock received 69.39 percent of the vote, with 993 total votes and 2 write-in votes.
In the 3rd Ward, Green teammate East Orange Board of Education President Bergson Leneus received 93.28 percent of the vote, with 1,533 total votes and 2 write-in votes.
In the 4th Ward, Green teammate Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper received 99.75 percent of the vote, with 800 total votes and 2 write-in votes.
In the 5th Ward, Green teammate Councilwoman Alicia Holman received 99.92 percent of the vote, with 1,209 total votes and 1 write-in vote.
“When our chairman (Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones) said that he wanted 90 percent of the votes, we got 90 percent of the votes,” said Green on Tuesday, June 6. “We sent a message that this community is about East Orange residents; that this election is about our community; and that this election is about a homegrown guy who had an opportunity to be where he’s at and hasn’t forgotten where he’s from. I’m from East Orange. I’m so East Orange.”
James, Cooper and Holman ran unopposed and won with 1,268, 798 and 1,208 votes respectively. Bullock ran against newcomer and Orange Township employee Khalfani Alleyne in the 2nd Ward and beat him with 689 votes compared to Alleyne’s 302.
Leneus made local history by becoming the city’s first-ever Haitian-American city councilman by beating challenger Jerome Black Sr. with 1,430 votes, compared to his 101 votes. Leneus and Black were running to fill Green’s soon-to-be-vacant 3rd Ward seat.
However, Leneus, Green and the other primary winners won’t be able to drop the “elect” from their titles until after being victorious in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, a foregone presumption in East Orange, a Democratic Party stronghold.
“The first individual I want to thank is God. I am truly thankful for the blessings of God that we all got through this election,” said Green to the crowd that packed the Bella Italia restaurant on election night. “And to both candidates that participated in this process that we call an election, John Thompson and Ken Williams, let’s give them a round of applause, because I think it’s always healthy when individuals get into an election and feel that they also can stand on the mantle at 44 City Hall Plaza. So I really want to really thank them for being a part of this election, but more so, as our chairman said, that we all come together and make East Orange better.”
Green also recognized the support he received from his “East Orange Family,” including East Orange Democratic Committee and Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones and his wife, Jackie; former Assembly speaker Sheila Oliver, for serving as his honorary campaign chairwoman; Vinnie Brown from local hip-hop music group Naughty By Nature; Rita Butts; Catherine Willis; CWA Local 1077 AFL-CIO District 1 President Bennie Brantley; Monique Mumford; Trina Lewis; his City Council colleagues; the Young Professionals of East Orange group; and his “friend,” boss and now fellow municipal leader Vauss.
“I can’t read all these names, because everybody has been special; every one of you played a part in what we do,” Green said, then introduced Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss, who took the mic and led the Bella Italia crowd in a chant of “Green in 2017,” before speaking about his friend.
“It’s been a tough journey. Most people don’t know — other than the council people in the room — the hard work it takes to run for office, the commitment it takes, the sleepless nights, just to do the right thing for the people of East Orange,” Vauss said. But I believe tonight the people of East Orange have spoken. Their choice has been made. They were ready to ‘Go Green in 2017.’ It’s been a long time coming and I’m just so happy that Irvington, along with East Orange, is going to move forward to make sure the people come first.”
Local businessman and former mayoral candidate Kevin Taylor and Councilwoman and Essex County Freeholder Carol Clark both put their differences aside to support Green’s primary run, and came out to celebrate Green’s victory with him Tuesday, June 6.
“Sometimes, we gotta stop being crabs in the barrel and we have to be able to come together so that we can move the city forward,” Taylor said. “The future’s looking very good right now” that the Green has won the primary, he said, adding that the challenge now is to hold the new mayor-elect accountable to the people who worked together to help him win the primary.
“We all have to work together to make sure that he’s doing the right thing and I’m more than sure that he will and I’m confident that he will,” Taylor said. “Tonight’s a good night and now the work begins in November, rather in January, so that we can start moving forward.”
“There’s been division for a very, very, very long time and a house divided against itself cannot stand, said Clark, who was also at Bella Italia restaurant at Green’s victory party on Tuesday, June 6. “That’s how dysfunction occurs. When a house is divided against itself, it’s dysfunctional. It can’t stand. So now the house should not be divided against itself. There should be some unity. It doesn’t mean that everybody’s going to be in lockstep and functioning and just following the script. It means that there will be some different voices, some strident voices, some dissident voices, but that’s how harmony occurs.
“When you harmonize, everybody’s not singing the same note. It’s not going to be unison, it’s going to be harmony, because that’s what East Orange needs right now, because we need to heal from the inside out and, if we work together, and we support each other, I think that there isn’t anything that we can’t accomplish.”