With just over 2,300 votes tallied in Bayonne’s 1st Ward, Councilman Neil Carroll III has declared victory, expecting to secure the win by a margin of victory by about 2-to-1.
Carroll declared victory about half an hour after the polls closed, with preliminary tallies showing him with 1,287 votes.
The second place finisher, Peter Franco, had less than half of that with 602 votes, followed by Paul Hagdorn with 237 votes. For the moment, challenger John Cupo is in last place with 214 votes.
In an interview, Carroll’s assistant campaign manager and lawyer, Joseph Skillender, said that the preliminary tallies don’t include the approximately 250 vote-by-mail ballots that were mailed to the County this past Friday, but clearly Carroll will still emerge victorious given his 2-1 margin of victory over his nearest competitor, Franco.
Carroll told us in an interview that it was an exciting victory and that it was a total team effort to win in the four-man race, taking some of the criticisms against him in stride, such as allocating more payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) funding to the public schools.
“My answer is that it’s currently ongoing, we’ve been implementing a plan that has given money from the PILOTs to the schools, and if we want to continue a conversation about perhaps expanding that, then that’s a conversation that I would engage in,” said Carroll.
He then mentioned his other priorities over the next three years.
“My priorities are going to be what, I believe, got me elected tonight and that is accessibility. From day one, everyone got my number and they knew how to get in touch with me, and they did, and I called them back. That translated into the small things getting done…..Everybody’s major problem is their problem, and I’m trying to solve it for them,” Carroll said.
Franco, whose campaign headquarters was just two doors away from the councilman’s, declined to immediately comment on the results, indicating that his campaign would be releasing a statement in the morning.