Warren re-elected mayor, but loses control of council

ORANGE, NJ — Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren left little doubt of his popularity, garnering 50 percent of the 3,917 votes cast in the municipal election on Tuesday, May 10.

Warren won his second term with 1,960 votes, easily besting his two challengers, East Ward Councilman Kerry Coley and former Zoning Board member Janice Morrell, who received 1,279 votes and 677 votes, respectively.

“If there is anyone out there who is wondering whether or not Orange is moving forward tonight, we have an answer,” said Warren in his election night victory speech posted on Facebook in the Orange NJ-Real Talk page. “Today, our neighbors turned out in record numbers to make their voices heard. These were voices raised in Spanish, in English and in Creole. These were voices raised for progress and unity.”

Warren said the election “reaffirmed that the people of Orange want to see the progress continue. They want to see me focus on making our schools better, improving our public safety by hiring officers who are committed to Orange and continue to build on a promise I made to provide more recreation and enrichment programs to our children.”

“I want to thank the voters of our beloved city who have trusted me to serve and guide our city for another four years,” said Warren. “To my opponents, who used this election to focus more on what divides us versus what unites us, I will continue to be the mayor for all of Orange, and ask them to put aside their differences for a better Orange. I look forward to continuing to serve the residents of the city of Orange Township.”

According to the Essex County Clerk’s Office, the three open at large City Council seats were won by incumbent Councilwoman Donna K. Williams, with 1,096 votes; Christopher G. Jackson, her running mate on the Orange Home Team slate, with 840 votes; and Adrienne Wooten, who ran as an unaffiliated independent, with 804 votes.

The results for the remaining 10 candidates were: Orange Home Team member Vanessa Arroyave, 756 votes; Jeffrey Wingfield, 590 votes; incumbent at large Councilman Elroy Corbitt, 568 votes; Sharief R. Williams, 564 votes; current City Council President April Gaunt-Butler, 542 votes; Merlin Hackett, 540 votes; former at large Councilman Rayfield Morton, 525 votes; Joseph M. Juliano, 232 votes; and Ashley J. Cartwright, 195 votes.

“Wooten beat Vanessa,” said Orange Democratic Committee Executive Director Anthony Salters, who backed Coley and his Orange Home Team slate in the mayoral and City Council.

Including the provisional ballot count, Wooten wound up with a total of 816 votes to Arroyave’s 774. Even though Coley failed to unseat Warren, his Home Team ticket easily sailed to victory in the crowded race for the three council seats; so although Warren was re-elected mayor, he lost control of the council.