The Jersey City Democratic Committee results were certified last week, with 26 off-the-line challengers winning in 56 contested races, five ties, and questions being raised over several party affiliations and addresses – though the clerk’s office says most of these concerns are unfounded.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The committee candidates running on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line won 25 contested races, bringing their total to 335 with 310 seats uncontested, according to the final tallies from the Jersey City Clerk’s Office.
That number will likely go up to 340 since the party selects the winner in the case of tie.
The Hudson County Progressive Alliance secured eight victories, the Progressive Democrats of Hudson County won seven seats, and three other candidates that identified as progressives were declared the winners in their respective districts.
Progressive candidates made up 53 of the 56 challengers in contested races.
Nine other winning committee members were affiliated with more obscure groups such as “Together We Can Change Our Community,” “Original Democratic Organization,” and “Hudson County Democratic Party.”
Preliminary tallies had progressive candidates winning 20 seats, as HCV first reported.
In the Heights, two HCDO candidates were disqualified for living outside of the 10th District, securing two wins for the Progressive Democrats of Hudson County in what appeared to be a tightly contested bout.
On Friday, the day after the results were certified, Marc Devens, who easily won his Ward E committee seat and is a member of the HCPA, tweeted a thread relying on county and state voter registration data that showed three Republican and seven unaffiliated voters running on the line with a handful of other residencies being questioned as well.
“I understand that mistakes happen. The vast majority of voters couldn’t tell you what district they’re in,” he wrote, also stating that he initially reached out to the clerk’s office on Monday, June 14th.
“But if you’re running for one of these seats, what sort of outreach are you able to do to the people in your district if you don’t even know which one you live in?”
All but one of the candidates he mentioned ran unopposed and he also noted that he may have been mistaken in three instances where two people with the same name lived at the same address – where one person was a Democrat and the other was unaffiliated.
Barbara Stamato, the chair of the Jersey City Democratic Organization, said today she was only aware of the issue in District 10 and deferred to the clerk’s office on the final results.
In a lengthy emailed explanation earlier this evening, Deputy City Clerk John Hallanan said that his office checked the same state and online data Devens had referenced and found that there were no additional residency discrepancies – indicating that they were looking at two separate sets of data.
He continued that all three Democrats were certified in the case where they lived in a residence with an unaffiliated voter with the same name, providing further explanation as to how two unaffiliated voters were able to run as Democrats in Districts A-11 and B-11, respectively.
” … With regard to Sharena Brewington (A-11) and Maryanne Schumann (B-11) you are correct that both are still listed as ‘unaffiliated’ in both the SVRS system and on the District Sheets. However, they both declared themselves to be Democrats by virtue of filing notarized petitions to run as Democrats in the Primary Election,” Hallanan explained.
“Their failure to simultaneously file a Voter Registration Form with their petitions to formally declare their affiliation with the Democratic Party is, in light of the fact that they both ran unopposed, a curable defect which we leave to the Committee membership to resolve at its re-organization meeting.”
In regards to the possibility of three Republicans running as Democrats, Hallanan wrote that all three were registered Democrats, though two of them filled out their Voter Registration Forms with their petitions.
“With regard to Gabriel Guach (D-19) Nicholas Grillo (E-11), both individuals filed a Voter Registration Form simultaneously with their petitions, which this office accepted and forwarded to the County. Presumably the SVRS has not been updated yet to reflect their current party affiliation.”
Devens said this evening that while he appreciated the effort the clerk’s office put into their response, multiple questions still remain, also questioning the HCDO’s selection process.
“I appreciate the clerk’s office’s response to my concerns, but I am left confused as to why the data provided to me by both the State of New Jersey’s Division of Elections and the Hudson County Superintendent of Elections differs so wildly from the data available to the clerk’s office,” he began.
“If this data is correct, we should still ask ourselves why the HCDO is endorsing candidates who had to change their party affiliation from Republican or Unaffiliated just to run for these positions instead of supporting candidates with established ties to the Democratic Party.”
Given that the results are now certified, it would likely take a legal challenge to review the clerk’s decisions, though the JCDO bylaws allow for a vote to remove members with cause.
Their reorganization meeting is scheduled for net Monday, June 28th, at the Moose Lodge, located at 60 West Side Ave.