Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly says he will support a millionaire's tax if it is posted for a vote, but he doesn't see enough support in the caucus for such a bill to pass.

Wimberly’s Third Ward Ballot Surfaces Among the Ejected and Rejected

Here’s an interesting tid amid the fall-out from the May 12th elections in Paterson and a recount petition filed today by Third Ward incumbent Councilman Bill McKoy:

According to the rejected ballot list from the Passaic County Clerk’s Office for the Third Ward, the ballots of Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35) and of others in his household were among those in the considerable discard pile.

Similarly, the ballot of the wife of Passaic County Freeholder T.J. Best was ejected from the final count.


Mattia Goes Nuclear on Belleville Ward One Election

Carmine Mattia, who lost to local legend Marie Strumolo-Burke a week ago by 135 votes, doesn’t believe the contest was fair.

In fact, that’s an understatement.

“I think they cheated,” the First Ward challenger told Insider iLine.  “I think the county screwed up. I think this was an aborion of an election.”

He doesn’t want the county to shoulder all the blame, though; in fact, not even really most of it. Still, he said a house vacant since 2015 across the street from his opponent upchucked a ballot in favor of Strumolo-Burke.

What was with that?

“It was not a fair election,” Mattia said. “We have to look at 60 ballots, then the ballots that came in over the weekend. The Post Office is a week behind.”

And other things too – like Team Strumolo-Burke’s movements, he said, as he pondered a recount challenge.


For Whom the Belleville Tolls

That signature contest in Belleville between First Ward Councilwoman Marie Strumolo-Burke and challenger Carmine Mattia may not be over, Mayor Mike Melham told Insider iLine.

Mattia is mulling filing a petition for a recount.

“We’re looking at it,” the mayor said. “We’re within our window to challenge. We’ve seen some stuff that potentially warrants a deeper look.”

Too close to call on May 12th, Election Night, the contest trundled on until at least last Friday, when the Essex County Clerk’s Office posted unofficial results that showed Strumolo-Burke defeating Mattia 657-522.


The Ward Two Rivalry in Paterson.

The Second World (or at least Paterson) War(d)

Political PTSD.

It can happen in this game when you spend an election cycle never fully getting out of the briar patch, and maybe that’s a little how Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman feels right now, as his opponent clings to an eight point advantage with no news yet of a formal Akhtaruzzaman challenge to Tuesday’s unofficial results.

The last time he and rival Shahin Khalique faced each other, they wound up in court, going toe-to-toe in a protracted fight that ultimately – through several plot shifts – resulted in Khalique wrenching the Second Ward seat away from Akhtaruzzaman.

It was the political campaign that turned into a Revolutionary War reinactment, which spilled – over the course of four years – into the next campaign.

As Third Ward Councilman Bill McKoy moves ahead with his own petition filing for a recount (see below), Azhtaruzzaman has given no indication of remounting.

And then, remember, there was that street fight in the Second Ward with bats and sticks.

Could it be fatigue?


In Paterson, McKoy Filing Petition for a Recount this Afternoon

Incumbent Third Ward Paterson Councilman Bill McKoy will file his petition for a recount of the ward election this afternoon.

On Tuesday night, McKoy lost to challenger former At-Large Councilman Alex Mendez by an unofficial vote total of 1,30 to 1,595. But given reports of active investigations into bound ballots dumped in mailboxes and lingering questions about which ballots count and which didn’t, McKoy wants hard answers.

The veteran McKoy, in office for 20 years, is filing for his own individuated ward recount and not with those loosely affiliated allies from other wards, among them Moammed Akturazzuman, separated from winner Second Ward Councilman Shahin Khalique by eight votes.

Paterson Mayor Sayegh Addresses His Collision with Best

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh issued the following response to Passaic County Freeholder T.J. Best:

“We are at war with a virus and the last thing I will do is engage in a war of words with Freeholder Best . He deleted the incendiary post on his Facebook page and it is time to move on. We should all be fully focused on guiding Paterson through this pandemic.”

Passaic County Freeholder T.J. Best.

Best Not Happy with Sayegh’s MSNBC Interview

Passaic County Freeholder T.J. Best is not exactly a devotee of Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, or his administration’s contact tracing efforts.

Best’s reaction tonight on Facebook:

“The mayor of the city of Paterson Andre Sayegh is a self serving, credit seeking slimy coward. Because we are facing a pandemic I’ve tried my best to not be to critical or let my personal feelings get involved. The truth is Andre Sayegh is a punk, he will do or any anything to serve himself. He is out of touch with the reality of City residents and if he has a problem with anything I said I gave him my address he can come see me or we can meet anywhere he likes. Don’t call me. Come see me.”

Best was reacting to the mayor’s appearance here.

“Did he really just say Paterson only has 2,500 positive cases of Covid19?” the freeholder wanted to know. “Last time I checked it was 6,000 confirmed with an estimated true number of 15,000 using most models.”

Sayegh tested positive for COVID-19 in April and subsequently recovered.

“Chris, it could have been far worse,” the mayor told MSNBC personality Chris Hayes, when asked about the effectiveness of his COVID-19 combat contact tracing team.

Both Silk City veterans, Sayegh and Best have a longstanding history of ill will.

pro-Warren mail piece in Orange.

Multiple Rejected Voters on Orange Ward Lists

The ward lists of rejected voters in Orange from the May 12th elections reflect an amazing, eclectic mix of people, including a Superior Court judge, ministers, a former councilwoman, a candidate for mayor, a dentist, friends, neighbors, and multiple Haitian Americans.

There are hundreds of names.

Some ballots were just received by voters this week.

Katie Rotondi, the new chair of the Sussex County Democrats, feels the best way – perhaps the only way – to build the Democratic party in conservative Sussex County is by making progress town-by-town. She hopes local Democratic municipal candidates can make inroads in a handful of towns this fall.

Report: Embattled Sussex Chair Rotondi Says Fellow Dem Chair ‘Hit on’ Her

Politico Pro today published a piece detailing an allegation by Sussex County Democratic Chair Kate Rotondi – apparently set to testify before Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s (D-37) committee – against Warren County Democratic Chair Tom Palmieri. The story details trouble between the two north western frontier chairs toiling mostly obscurely in minority party organizations in GOP counties.

In a January letter to Weinberg arguing for why she should be on the committee, Rotondi wrote:

“I want to tell you about what I have experienced already during my nearly 8 months as the current chairwoman of the Sussex County Democratic Committee. I have witnessed male county chairs receive preferential treatment by the state party and by Governor Murphy’s administration. As a newer chair, I spoke to other male chairs that I have good relationships with to see if what I was experiencing was the norm and they were both shocked by how I was treated versus how they were treated by members of the state party and by Governor Murphy’s administration.

“A male county chair hit on me during our first meeting. When it became clear after a few more communications that I was not interested, he tried to utilize his position to work against me. At a fundraiser at the Governor’s home I put my drink down to take a photo and then I realized I shouldn’t drink it again because you never put your drink down without a woman to watch it. When I said I needed to get another drink the same male chair that hit on me mocked me and made jokes of having drugged it.”

The chair referenced is Palmieri, a veteran party player with a good reputation, who has labored in Demoratic Party politics for two decades and served as chairman in Warren since 2015. The pair of neighboring party chairs collided over the 2019 candidacy of Deana Lykins, who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican Assemblyman Parker Space. Palmieri devoted significant energies to the effort, and clashed with Rotondi about how to mutually tackle that tough district race. A recall effort in Sussex by her own fellow Democrats has dogged Rotondi to date.


Arango Backs Pallotta in CD5 Republican Primary

Jose Arango, former Chair of Chairs for the NJ Republican Chairman’s Association, today endorsed Frank Pallotta for the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th District.

Arango is the first Cuban American to hold the Chair of Chairs position. He is also the last Republican from Hudson County to serve in the New Jersey General Assembly, elected in 1985 under President Ronald Reagan.

“As one of Frank Pallotta’s earliest supporters, I am proud to endorse him today. Frank’s successful career in the financial industry shows that he has what it takes to clean up the mess in Washington and propel economic growth and prosperity to the residents of the 5th District. This year, we must be pragmatic, not fanatic, and by nominating Frank Pallotta, we are putting up a candidate that can and will defeat Josh Gottheimer on November 3rd. Frank Pallotta is the real deal, and a phenomenal representation of the GOP, the party of Growth, Opportunity, and Prosperity.”

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