Sacco-backed North Bergen Board of Education ticket sweeps election

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The Our Children First North Bergen Board of Education ticket, who had the backing of state Senator (D-32)/Mayor Nick Sacco swept today’s election in definitive fashion.

The Our Children First North Bergen Board of Education slate swept today's election. Left to right: Claudia Baselice, Kanaiyalal "Kanu" Patel and Luis Diaz.
The Our Children First North Bergen Board of Education slate swept today’s election. Left to right: Claudia Baselice, Kanaiyalal “Kanu” Patel and Luis Diaz.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Claudia Baselice, the top candidate in an election that featured 17 candidates for voters to choose from, scored 3,639 votes on the machines, according to unofficial tallies from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office that do not include absentee or provisional ballots.

Her running mates, Kanaiyalal “Kanu” Patel and Luis Diaz, the latter being the only incumbent in the race, unofficially came away with 3,340 and 3,253 votes, respectively.

The three-person slate, who were all elected to three-year terms on the board, were far ahead of all the other competition.

The Save Our Schools slate, who was endorsed by Sacco’s arch nemesis Larry Wainstein, of Rene Hidalgo-Gatty, Jose Santos and Viviana Salcedo, finished with preliminary vote tallies of 497, 540 and 490.

Phil Swibinski, the Our Children First campaign manager, was predictably ecstatic with the results.

“Mayor Sacco’s team once again delivered an overwhelming win despite terrible weather and the result is a testament to his leadership and the strength of our organization,” he said in an email.

He also called the showing from Wainstein’s team “truly pathetic” given the amount of time and money, which he estimated at about $100,000, he invested into the campaign.

Wainstein, who made an unexpected return to the spotlight at a February BOE meeting, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.