“The Leadership that Listens” Hoboken Board of Education slate pulled off a clean sweep in the hotly contested non-partisan eight-person race today, the first full throttle school board election since 2016.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The contest pitted LTL against the “Kids First” team, along with independents Pat Waiters and John Madigan – the latter of which is a former BOE trustee.
Preliminary totals show Norwood as the top vote getter with over 4,800 cast in her favor, followed by Antonio Graña with around 4,400, and finally Trustee Alex de la Torre – who was re-elected with at least 4,300 votes.
“We are extremely thankful that the voters of Hoboken have put their trust in us. From the very first day of this campaign, it has been about creating a better Hoboken and school system for the children of our community, and we cannot wait to continue that work. We are sincerely grateful for all of the supporters and volunteers that worked tirelessly on our behalf,” the trio said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
Cindy Wiegand, of the KF slate, is currently in fourth place with about 3,000 votes. She ran alongside Pavel Sokolov, the secretary of the Hoboken Republican Committee, and Donna Magen, who came in 5th and 6th place, respectively.
In a statement, the KF team congratulated LTL on their victory and also thanked the voters who supported them.
“We are so grateful for the overwhelming support we received from the Hoboken community over the last few months. Each of us made the decision to run for the Board of Education because we genuinely want to share our ideas and contributions,” the KF trio said in a joint statement.
“We are disappointed by the outcome but are proud of how we carried ourselves during the election process. We hope that we showed our community that you can campaign in a respectful manner, and we hope we inspired more people to get involved along the way.”
They also thanked Joe Branco, also the Hoboken Republican Committee chair, for managing their campaign.
The election largely came down to whether voters were still bothered by the $241 million school referendum that was defeated in January or that Republicans with “extreme views” had their eyes on board seats (though Wiegand and Magen are unaffiliated voters).
Citywide turnout was strong, with over 25,000 ballots cast, which evidently favored LTL – who are all Democrats and may have seem a boost by the inevitable win from 8th District Democratic congressional nominee Rob Menendez – who is now congressman-elect.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who endorsed LTL along with most of his council allies, said LTL’s victory is a win for the Hoboken public schools and students.
“Congratulations to @LTLHobokenBOE – Leslie Norwood, Antonio Grana and Alex De La Torre – for a big win for Hoboken! The school board is in great hands and the future is bright for our children,” he tweeted.
KF’s most significant endorsement was from former 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham, with 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco and 2nd Ward Councilman Tiffanie Fisher claiming LTL’s attack mail against them had gone too far.
Waiters is projected to finish in seventh place and Madigan looks like he’ll finish last.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Wednesday with a statement from the “Leadership that Listens” team.