BELLEVILLE / NUTLEY, NJ — This election season is shaping up to be fairly quiet in Essex County, with few contested elections and foregone conclusions for some of the contested races. The biggest question on the ballot this upcoming Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, is the choice for governor.
Democratic incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, with running mate Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, will be facing off against Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, with running mate Diane Allen. Also running for governor and lieutenant governor are the teams of Joanne Kuniansky and Vivian M. Sahner on the Socialist Workers Party ticket; Madelyn R. Hoffman and Heather Warburton on the Green Party ticket; and Gregg Mele and Eveline Brownstein on the Libertarian Party ticket.
There are also two state public questions for voters to consider; both concern gambling statutes. In the first question, voters are being asked to decide whether the state should pass a constitutional amendment to allow wagering on postseason college sport competitions held in New Jersey and competitions in which a New Jersey–based college team participates. The second question regards whether to allow organizations that are permitted to hold raffles to keep the raffle proceeds to support themselves.
Countywide, voters must elect the sheriff, a three-year term. Running for office are Democratic incumbent Armando B. Fontoura, who has been serving as Essex County sheriff since 1990, and Republican challenger Nicholas G. Pansini.
Residents in the 28th Legislative District must choose between Democratic incumbents and Republican challengers for state Senate and Assembly. The Democratic incumbents are Ronald L. Rice for state Senate and Cleopatra G. Tucker and Ralph Caputo for Assembly. Republican challengers are Frank Contella for state Senate and Monique Headen and Anthony D’Angelo for Assembly. Rice has served as a state senator since 1986, and Tucker and Caputo have served as Assembly members since 2008.
In the 29th Legislative District, state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, the Democratic incumbent, is running unopposed; Ruiz has served in the state Senate since 2008. Running for the two state Assembly seats are Democratic incumbents Shanique Speight and Eliana Pintor Marin, and independent challenger Debra Salters, who is running under the slogan “Salters for All.” Speight has been an assemblywoman since 2018 and Pintor Marin since 2013.
The Belleville Board of Education race gives voters a lot of options, with six candidates running for two open seats. Incumbents Christine Lamparello and Nelson Barrera are seeking to reclaim their seats; Barrerra is running under the slogan “Keep Progress Going.” They will face challengers Nicole Coviello-Daddis under the slogan “Belleville’s Children First,” Tracy Williams under the slogan “Together We Achieve,” Lissa Missaggia under the slogan “Excellence in Education” and Ruben A. Rodriguez.
The Nutley Board of Education race also has a large number of candidates, with seven individuals running for just three open seats. Incumbents Kenneth J. Reilly, under the slogan “Keep Your Promises,” and Theresa Quirk are seeking reelection. Challengers are Nicholas Scotti under the slogan “Nutley Families First,” Jeffrey Polewka, Daniel Fraginals under the slogan “A New Voice,” Joe Battaglia and David Kay under the slogan “Putting Kids First.”
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, and there are multiple ways for county residents to vote, such as by mail, early in-person voting, via drop box and in person on the day.