ESSEX COUNTY, 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.
Voters residing in the 27th Legislative District must choose between Democratic incumbents and Republican challengers for state Senate and Assembly. The Democratic incumbents are Richard J. Codey for state Senate and John F. McKeon and Mila M. Jasey for Assembly. Republican challengers are Adam Kraemer for state Senate and Jonathan Sym and Kevin Ryan for Assembly. Codey has served as a state senator since 1982; he has also twice stepped in as New Jersey governor, following the resignations of Gov. Christine Todd Whitman in 2001 and Gov. Jim McGreevey in 2004. McKeon has been an assemblyman since 2002, and Jasey has been an assemblywoman since 2007.
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.
Voters living in the 34th Legislative District must choose between Democratic incumbents and Republican and independent challengers. The Democratic incumbents are Nia H. Gill for state Senate and Thomas P. Giblin and Britnee N. Timberlake for Assembly. Republican challengers are Scott Pollack for state Senate and Tafari K. Anderson and Irene DeVita for Assembly. Clenard H. Childress Jr. is running for the Assembly as an independent under the slogan “Stop the Insanity.” Gill has served as a state senator since 2002, Giblin has served as an assemblyman since 2006 and Timberlake has served as an assemblywoman since 2018.
With three open seats on the Bloomfield Board of Education, Bloomfield voters must choose three of six candidates. Running together under the slogan “Strength and Experience” are incumbents Shane Berger and Michael Heller and challenger Satenik Margaryan; Berger is seeking a fourth nonconsecutive term and Heller is seeking a third nonconsecutive term. Running together under the slogan “For Our Kids” is the slate of challengers Monica Charris Tabares, Pedro A. Gongora and Yomara Knott.
In East Orange, Democratic Mayor Ted R. Green is running for reelection unopposed, as are the following Democratic council members: Ward 1 Councilman Christopher James, Ward 3 Councilman Bergson Leneus, Ward 4 Councilwoman Tameika Garrett-Ward and Ward 5 Councilwoman Alicia Holman. The only contested East Orange race is for Ward 2 council member, with Democratic incumbent Christopher Awe vying to reclaim his seat against independent challenger Simone Jelks-Bandison, who is running under the slogan “Independently Empowering the Community.” Awe has served as Ward 2 councilman since 2018.
Glen Ridge will have a quiet election season with two candidates running unopposed for two open seats on the borough council and three candidates running unopposed for three open seats on the board of education. Running for council are Civic Conference Committee candidates Ann Marie Morrow and Rebecca Meyer, and running for BOE are CCC candidates Kristin O’Neil, Anthony Bonnett and David Campbell. Morrow, Bonnett and Campbell are all incumbents.
In Maplewood, there are two open seats on the Maplewood Township Committee. Incumbent Committeewoman Nancy J. Adams and challenger Jamaine L. Cripe, both Democrats, are running unopposed. Additionally, the ballot for Maplewood will include a referendum asking residents to approve installing artificial turf on the field in DeHart Park.
The South Orange–Maplewood Board of Education has three vacancies and five candidates vying for election. BOE First Vice President Shannon Cuttle, running under the slogan “Forward Together,” is the only incumbent seeking reelection; Cuttle is running for a second term. Challengers include the team of Arun Vadlamani and Qawi Telesford, running under the slogan “Excellence, Action, Accountability”; William Rodriguez; and Kaitlin M. Wittleder, running under the slogan “Student Voices Matter.”
The Orange Board of Education also has five candidates vying for three seats. Three incumbents are running: Siaka Sherif; Derrick Henry, running under the slogan “Orange 1st”; and David Kent Armstrong, running under the slogan “About the Children.” Running a joint campaign under the slogan “Achieving Greatness Together” are challengers Myrtha Lominy-Rhodes and Cierra Green. With a lot of shake-ups in the past few years, this past year was the first in Orange where the entire Board of Education was elected rather than having appointed members.
West Orange will see two challengers run unopposed for the two open seats on the board of education. They are Brian Rock, running under the slogan “Moving Forward Together,” and Eric Stevenson, under the slogan “West Orange First.”
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, and there are multiple ways for county residents to vote, including by mail, early in-person voting, via drop box and in person on the day.