Following an unofficial, squeak-out win by incumbent East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador last night, challenger Anthony Campos would not stand down.
“Voters in the East Ward deserve a conclusion to this election,” said Campos. “For months, my opponent and I have engaged them at their doorsteps, in their mailboxes, over their phones, and on the internet. After all of that, we are separated by less than 85 votes with instances of machine problems at polling locations, provisional ballots unopened, and reports of improprieties that require examination. More than ever, East Ward voters deserve to know that this election was administered properly and that we all can have faith in the integrity of the outcome.
“My supporters and campaign volunteers achieved something only seen once a generation – they stood up to an entrenched political organization that enjoys every imaginable advantage,” Campos added. “Let’s be clear: Mr. Amador was not my only opponent tonight. Today, we faced off against one of the most extreme insider machines in the State of New Jersey. In addition to providing money and resources, they flooded the East Ward with paid workers and patronage employees from across the county to prop up Mr. Amador. They made up outrageous lies about me to dilute my accomplishments and discredit my integrity. They got as desperate as you can imagine. And, at the end of all of that, they sit a mere 83 votes ahead. In a conventional race, that may have dirtied the election enough to discourage people from voting. Our supporters stopped that from happening, and they deserve the credit for bringing this as close as it is. I am eternally grateful to them. But just as we worked to execute this campaign honorably, we must step up now to protect its outcome.
“Following the counting of the provisional ballots cast, I am requesting a complete and thorough recount of the entire vote to ensure the election integrity that voters deserve. My goal is not to delay an outcome or to drag out the process, but rather to ensure everyone’s voices have been heard.”
North Ward Democratic Committee Chairman Sammy Gonzalez punched back at the statement.
“He’s not going to overturn the outcome,” he said. “It was an East Ward race, and we have always had close ties to the East Ward. What he’s saying is absurd. Everyone we took down there lives in Newark, unlike the campaign he ran, which depended on significant outside intervention. Listen, Councilman Amador won this race and so did the people of the East Ward. When we went down there to help we had a game plan, we had captains assigned to specific wards. Tell Mr. Campos that instead of crying about the result, he should have focused on winning his home district, which Councilman Amador won.”
Gonzalez later issued a full statement: