ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — This election season in Essex County was quite eventful, with a combined 55 elections and four public questions. There were a whopping 159 candidates listed on the various county ballots.
All results remain unofficial until certified by Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin.
The biggest election was of course that for New Jersey’s new governor. While there were seven candidates, it really came down to Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno, who has served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Chris Christie. Murphy defeated Guadagno statewide by approximately 13 percentage points.
Murphy also beat out Guadagno in Essex County, where he garnered 126,526 votes, or 79.39 percent, and she only collected 30,190 votes, or 18.94 percent; as of press time, four voting districts had still not been added to that total, three in Newark and one in West Orange.
However, while Murphy did gain approximately four times as many votes as Guadagno in Essex County, Guadagno did carry several small towns. But Murphy did earn the majority of votes in 17 of 22 Essex County municipalities. None of the five other candidates even reached 1 percent of votes in Essex County, though collectively they won approximately 1.68 percent of the votes.
Murphy had the highest percentage win in East Orange, where he earned 11,742 votes, or 97.72 percent, as opposed to Guadagno’s 229 votes, or 1.91 percent. Similarly in Irvington, Murphy received 8,300 votes, or 96.83 percent, and Guadagno received only 208 votes, or 2.43 percent. In Orange, Murphy received 4,788 votes, or 95.49 percent, while Guadagno only received 185 votes, or 3.69 percent. In Newark, with three districts not yet added to the total, Murphy won 33,377 votes, or 94.03 percent, and Guadagno took 1,630 votes, or 4.59 percent.
In Maplewood, Murphy garnered 7,270 votes, or 87.98 percent, and Guadagno earned just 833 votes, or 10.08 percent. With similar numbers, South Orange residents gave 4,740 votes to Murphy, or 87.97 percent, and only 546 votes to Guadagno, or 10.13 percent. Like Maplewood and South Orange, in Montclair, Murphy gained 11,408 votes, or 88.17 percent, and Guadagno gained 1,330 votes, or 10.28 percent.
In West Orange, with one voting district still not added to the total, Murphy received 8,890 votes, or 77.47 percent, and Guadagno received 2,390 votes, or 20.83 percent. In Belleville, Murphy received 3,875 votes, or 65 percent, to Guadagno’s 1,925 votes, or 32.39 percent. Bloomfield voted overwhelmingly Democratic, with 7,829 votes for Murphy, or 73.55 percent, and 2,524 votes for Guadagno, or 23.71 percent. In Glen Ridge, Murphy garnered 1,888 votes, or 74.92 percent, while Guadagno only received 572 votes, or 22.7 percent. In Livingston, Murphy received 4,651 votes, or 61.07 percent, while Guadagno received 2,863 votes, or 37.59 percent. Murphy also took Millburn, gaining 3,416 votes, or 62.89 percent, with Guadagno at 1,928 votes, or 35.49 percent. In Verona, Murphy received 2,747 votes, or 59.83 percent, and Guadagno received 1,750 votes, or 38.12 percent. Murphy just managed to edge out Guadagno in West Caldwell, where he received 1,733 votes, or 49.76 percent, and Guadagno received 1,678 votes, or 48.18 percent.
Caldwell served as an apt microcosm for the state, with Murphy earning 1,280 votes, or 55.03 percent, and Guadagno receiving 995 votes, or 42.78 percent. Similarly, in Nutley, Murphy took 3,967 votes, or 55.01 percent, and Guadagno took 3,044 votes, or 42.21 percent.
But Guadagno did take the lead in Essex Fells, with 394 votes, or 58.37 percent, compared to Murphy’s 275 votes, or 40.74 percent. She also routed Murphy in Fairfield, where she earned 1,191 votes, or 64.9 percent, and Murphy earned 615 votes, or 33.51 percent. Guadagno just edged out Murphy in Cedar Grove where she received 1,761 votes, or 49.82 percent, as opposed to Murphy’s 1,695 votes, or 47.95 percent. In North Caldwell, Guadagno won 1,037 votes, or 52.24 percent, while Murphy received 915 votes, or 46.1 percent. Guadagno also edged out Murphy in Roseland, where she received 1,177 votes, or 50.26 percent, and Murphy received 1,125 votes, or 48.04 percent.
Additionally, Essex County’s 22 municipalities divide into six legislative districts; this election season, every state Senate and Assembly seat was open.
In the 26th Legislative District, Republican incumbent Joe Pennacchio won re-election, ultimately winning 56.6 percent of the votes and 51.14 percent of the Essex County votes in his district; he ran against Democrat Elliot Isibor. As for the Assembly, Republican incumbents BettyLou DeCroce and Jay Webber won re-election with 28.7 percent and 27.1 percent of the votes, respectively, and, in Essex County, 25.38 percent and 25.44 percent, respectively; they beat Democrats Joseph Raich and E. William Edge.
In the 27th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Richard Codey won re-election, ultimately winning 69.1 percent of the votes and 78.97 percent of the Essex County votes in his district; he beat Republican Pasquale Capozzoli. As for the Assembly, Democratic incumbents John McKeon and Mila Jasey won re-election with 33 percent and 31.9 percent of the votes, respectively, and, in Essex County, 38.56 percent and 37.25 percent, respectively; they beat Republicans Ronald DeRose and Angelo Tedesco Jr.
In the 28th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Ronald Rice won re-election, ultimately winning 96 percent of the votes and 95.91 percent of the Essex County votes in his district; he beat Green Party member Troy Knight-Napper. As for the Assembly, Democratic incumbents Ralph Caputo and Cleopatra Tucker won re-election with 42.9 percent and 42.3 percent of the votes, respectively, and, in Essex County, 42.63 percent and 42.06 percent, respectively; the beat Republicans James Boydston and Veronica Branch, and independents Joanne Miller and Scott Thomas Nicastro Jr.
In the 29th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Teresa Ruiz won re-election, ultimately winning 87 percent of the votes and 87.1 percent of the Essex County votes in her district; she beat Republican Maria Lopez and independent Pablo Olivera. As for the Assembly, Democratic incumbent Eliana Pintor Marin and challenger Shanique Speight won the election with 44.7 percent and 42.8 percent of the votes, respectively, and, in Essex County, 44.67 percent and 42.91 percent, respectively; they beat Republicans Jeannette Veras and Charles Hood.
In the 34th Legislative District, Democratic incumbent Nia Gill won re-election, ultimately winning 86 percent of the votes and 94.56 percent of the Essex County votes in her district; she beat Republican Mahir Saleh. As for the Assembly, Democratic incumbents Sheila Oliver and Thomas Giblin won re-election with 43 percent and 41 percent of the votes, respectively, and, in Essex County, 48.71 percent and 45.76 percent, respectively; they beat Republicans Nicholas Surgent and Tafari Anderson. However, as Oliver will serve as lieutenant governor under Murphy, she will have to vacate her seat in the Assembly; a replacement will be chosen by the Essex and Passaic counties Democratic committees to serve for one year until a special election is held in 2018.
In the 40th Legislative District, Republican incumbent Kristin Corrado won re-election, ultimately winning 57 percent of the votes and 55.07 percent of the Essex County votes in her district; she beat Democrat Thomas Duch. As for the Assembly, Republican incumbent Kevin Rooney and challenger Christopher DePhillips won re-election with 27 percent and 26 percent of the votes, respectively, and, in Essex County, 26.59 percent and 26.45 percent, respectively; they defeated Democrats Christine Ordway and Paul Vagianos, and independent Anthony Pellechia.
For the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Democrats retook each seat. Running for at-large seats, incumbents Patricia Sebold, Rufus Johnson, Brendan Gill and Lebby Jones earned 20.4 percent, 20.2 percent, 20.44 percent and 19.81 percent of votes, respectively; they beat Republicans Frank Contella, Blanca Lopez, John Piserchia and Che Colter. In District 1, challenger Robert Mercado received 91.78 percent of the votes, beating Republican challenger Karina Garces. In District 2, incumbent Wayne Richardson received 95.1 percent of the votes, beating Republican Douglas Freeman. In District 3, incumbent Britnee Timberlake, who is currently Freeholder president, received 99.92 percent of the votes; she ran unopposed. In District 4, incumbent Leonard Luciano won 63.44 percent of the votes, beating Republican Adam Kraemer. In District 5, challenger Carlos Pomares, who ran unopposed, received 99.68 percent of the votes.
According to the Essex County Clerk’s website, 161,368 county residents cast ballots, although 491,010 were registered to vote; this would make a voter turnout of only 32.86 percent. However, these numbers can be misleading because when residents move away or die, they are not automatically taken off the voting registry. According to the 2010 Census, Essex County had 589,051 residents older than 18, though this does not denote which were registered to vote; were all of those residents registered to vote, which is highly unlikely, the voter turnout looks even more bleak at just 27.39 percent.