Kearny 2nd Ward council challenger Alexis Campos will do a write-in campaign for the June 8th Democratic primary after Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Jeffrey Jablonski removed her from the ballot following a residency challenge.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The Kearny Democratic Organization, chaired by Mayor Al Santos, filed a challenge of Campos’ residency on April 9th, since voter records showed she lived in the 3rd Ward when she voted in the November 2020 election, Town Clerk Patricia Carpenter said in a court certified statement.
“Based on my review and my obligation to ‘pass upon the validity of such objection in a summary way,’ N.J.S.A. 19:13-11, I concluded Ms. Campos was not a resident of and legal voter in the Second Ward in the Town of Kearny.”
In an appeal filed by mayoral hopeful Sydney Ferreira and Campos on April 19th, they argued that the one year residency requirement only applies to November general elections and by that point later this year she would have lived in the 2nd Ward for over 12 months.
However, Jablonski dismissed the case on Wednesday and advised the town to move forward with printing their primary ballots.
“The relief sought by means of the plaintiff’s order to show cause be and is hereby denied. The plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed. The prior restraints as to the printing of the ballots for the June 8, 2021, election are hereby dissolved.”
Speaking with HCV over the phone this morning, Ferreira said that while his team is disappointed in the outcome, he actually thinks this will be beneficial in the long term and questioned why his opponents would file the challenge in the first place.
“I think this brings us closer together and makes us work harder. Our supporters are actually more entrenched now – we’ve picked up a lot of support from the other side,” he said.
“Why would you deny someone the ability to run? If she’s qualified to run for mayor, why is she not qualified to run for councilwoman? They tried to throw a monkey wrench in our campaign.”
Despite the setback, he confirmed that Campos will still be campaigning with the team and will continue forward as a write-in candidate.
Caitlin Mota, a spokeswoman for the Santos Team for Kearny, said the court challenge wasn’t personal and was instead about having a fair election.
“Every resident of Kearny has the right to object to any petitions submitted to the Town Clerk for the municipal election, and Mayor Santos executed that right as both a resident and the president of the town’s Democratic Party,” she said.
“This was not a personal attack on anyone, rather an effort to protect the integrity of the upcoming election by ensuring all laws are followed which was affirmed by the court.”
Santos, first elected mayor in 1999, is facing his first primary challenge since 2003.
While 2nd Ward Councilman Richard Konopka will now be uncontested on the ballot, the 1st Ward will see Councilwoman Marytrine DeCastro facing off with Kristin Jean McBrinn, Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle will take on Kristen Grimaldi in the 3rd Ward, and the 4th Ward will pit Councilman Gerald Ficeto in a head-to-head contest against Stephanie Galarza.