Engel wins primary election to be Dem candidate for Maplewood TC

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Engel
Democrat Deborah Engel files her petition to run for a seat on the Maplewood Township Committee.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Small business owner, mom of three, community volunteer and lifetime Democrat Deborah Engel won a decisive victory Tuesday, June 7, for the Democratic nomination for the Maplewood Township Committee. This primary victory means that Engel will appear on the ballot in the general election this fall. No Republicans or independents have filed to run for the seat.

With 95.45 percent of votes counted as of the afternoon of June 13, according to the county clerk’s website, Engel received 84.83 percent of the votes, while opponent Kurt H. Kiley received just 15.17 percent of the votes.

“I am so thankful to the people of Maplewood for having the faith in me to lead our great town,” Engel said. “I am thrilled to be on the ballot next to Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill in November and look forward to bringing out the Democratic vote for us moms and women with vision. I also look forward to being on the ballot with Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., who served Essex County so well during the pandemic.”

The Maplewood Township Committee race was the only contested local race on the ballot, which featured two candidates on the same line, per recent reforms from the Maplewood Democratic Committee that were intended to encourage competition and voter engagement.

“Debating the issues is good for everyone,” Engel said. “It’s good for the candidates to listen and hear from our residents about the issues affecting them. It’s good for the township to enable thoughtful debate and decision-making. Political competition puts the power in the hands of the people, where it should always reside.”

Both Engel and her opponent were interviewed and endorsed by the MDC. Engel was also endorsed by all five members of the current Maplewood Township Committee; former Maplewood Mayor Ellen Davenport, the town’s only female mayor; former Township Committee members Kathy Leventhal, Greg Lembrich and David Huemer; South Orange Village President Sheena Collum; and South Orange Board of Trustees members Bill Haskins, Summer Jones, Bob Zuckerman and Karen Hartshorn Hilton.

Engel, who has lived in Maplewood for 13 years with her husband and their three young daughters, is a co-founder and co-owner of The General Store Cooperative on Springfield Avenue and the former owner of Work and Play in South Orange.

With a November win, Engel would deliver the first ever female-majority to the five-member Maplewood Township Committee.