Hudson County Commissioner Yraida Aponte-Lipski (D-4) and Anthony Romano (D-5), the board chair, held on in the only two tightly contested races from Tuesday.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In the 4th District, the incumbent defeated Mamta Singh by 146 votes, or about 4.38 percentage points, 1,736 to 1,590, according to updated preliminary tallies from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.
In the 5th District, Romano, who became the chair in April shortly after Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Anthony Vainieri resigned to run for municipal commissioner in North Bergen, bested Ron Bautista by 219 votes, or roughly 6.48 percent.
That contest was a rematch from 2020, a presidential year, where Romano won by a much more comfortable margin: approximately 62-38.
“I know it was a tough day to come out to vote due to the unforeseen air quality issues, new voting machines, and new voting sites,” Romano said over the phone.
“I just want to thank all my supporters and I’ll do my best to continue to represent all the people of District 5. I’m looking forward to working with anybody from any party for the betterment of our community.”
Romano could have a different kind of scrap on his hands this fall, when he takes on Joe Branco, the chair of the Hoboken Republican Committee, in what many politicos are viewing as a grudge match between two former friends.
While the odds looked long for either Singh or Bautista to secure an upset after county tallies were updated on Wednesday morning, both decided to hold off on conceding due to outstanding ballots as the result of some election night issues at the county.
Yesterday, officials from the county clerk’s office and board of elections attributing the situation, where 44 voter cartridges were either not returned or misplaced, largely to “transient network issues” on their reporting system, as well as poll workers hand delivering data to the county.
Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Jeffrey Jablonski signed off on a court order last night to allow the machines to be opened to retrieve the cartridges and tally those remaining votes.
They vowed to remedy the problems by only contracting with one election vendor and and installing remote reading sites through the county ahead of the November 7th general election.
Bautista, who has also come up short in Democratic committee, city council, and mayoral contests in Hoboken, said in his concession that he was “deeply proud of the campaign we ran” and is proud of not taking dark money, as well as not “selling out to the political bosses.”
“Instead, we relied on the support and trust of the community that has seen me grow. The work continues. It will take a village to address the challenges we face as a community, such as the climate crisis, unfair rent hikes, homelessness, and the need for safer streets,” he stated.
“I’m ready to continue to build a coalition of everyday people, who will stand up and champion these important issues. Moreover, representation matters, and I am committed to cultivating a bench of progressive candidates who are not for sale. Although this election did not yield the desired outcome, it has only strengthened my resolve to create lasting change.”
As for Singh, the executive director of local nonprofit JCFamilies who was running for county office for the first time, she also expressed enthusiasm about what she was able to accomplished in this election.
“What we showed is that a progressive change is coming in Jersey City and Hudson County. We fought to ensure that this race was focused on housing affordability, public transit and county government transparency,” she said in her concession.
“We fought against a disfavorable ballot system and one of the most entrenched political machines in the county and we came closer than ever before. I know that there is a strong progressive future here in Hudson County and I will continue the work to ensure our progressive momentum continues.”
She also thanked her son, her campaign staffers Victoria and Rachana, and Ward E Councilman James Solomon who endorsed her, and everyone else who ran on the progressive Democrats ticket.
Furthermore, Singh wished all the Democratic commissioner candidates luck in November, and added that she’d like to work with them on expanding green spaces, fixing John F. Kennedy Boulevard, and holding developers accountable.
Aponte-Lipski could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The two wins solidify that the HCDO pulled off a clean sweep on Tuesday, with 10 county seats – county executive and nine commissioner seats – and nine legislative seats – three state Senate and six state Assembly – on the ballot. Nine of those 19 races were contested.
East Newark Mayor Dina Grilo also easily defeated Councilwoman Jessica Diaz in her re-election bid, securing an over 4-1 victory.
Per state statute, the June 6th primary election can’t be certified by the board of elections before June 19th.