The Sprawling Scope of the Montclair Mayor’s Race, as Time Ticks Down

Renee Baskerville and Sean Spiller of Montclair.

MONTCLAIR – Sean Spiller is running for mayor today against fellow council member Dr. Renee Baskerville.

At least officially.

But as the campaign winds down, you get the feeling he’s really running against the Sunlight Policy Center, a conservative group with a particular seething for the NJEA.

The group has been distributing op-eds, press releases and Facebook posts contending “Mayor Spiller” would be in grave conflict because of his “day job” – vice president of the state teachers’ union.

“This is not a Montclair issue, it’s a statewide issue,” was the gist of a post just a few days ago.

Spiller has addressed this issue far more than he has addressed anything Baskerville has had to say.

As he put it in a recent post:

“All of the progress we’ve fought for is on the line in this election. Don’t let right-wing outside groups sway our election. As mayor, I’ll stand up for Montclair’s values and protect the things that make
Montclair special.”

The mayor appoints school board members in Montclair and Spiller insists he would look for “independent” thinkers.
Council candidates are also on the ballot today and one of them seems pretty confident.

Hours before the polls close, Peter Yacobellis, who is running for council-at-large, announced that he will take part tonight in a panel discussion with the LGBTQ Victory Fund. The discussion to be held on
Zoom from 8 to 9:30 p.m. will concentrate on the state of LGBTQ equality in the United States.

Joining him will be Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y, civil rights leader and author David Mixner; Joan Garry, Montclair resident and former president of GLAAD; and Teen Wolf and Queer as Folk actress
Michelle Clunie.

If he wins, Yacobellis will be the first publicly-announced LGBTQ candidate to be elected to the Montclair council.

To that end, Yacobellis said in a Facebook post that as of this morning, about 25 percent of town voters had returned a ballot.

Ballots must be post-marked by today to be counted and just in case some voters don’t know, Yacobellis listed addresses for five post offices serving the township.

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