The Story of Mike Veira of Orange

Political junkies in Essex County will remember the Orange machinations of Mike Veira, now vice chairman of the New Jersey Transaction Transportation Conference. In the mid 1990s, Veira (who currently lives in Livingston) ran for a ward seat on the Orange City Council and lost by 50 votes to his bitter political rival Donald Page.

A few years later, the pair settled their differences and Veira became Page’s campaign manager, successfully handling the candidate en route to an at-large victory. The pair stayed together, and when Mayor Mims Hackett melted down on corruption charges, Page ran for mayor in 2008 with Veira once again in the engine room.

On the other side of the local divide, then-Senate President Dick Codey backed Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. son of former Assemblyman Eldridge Hawkins.

Hawkins defeated Page by 119 votes.

“That’s a number I’ll never forget,” Veira said.

Page lost the election in no small part because Codey and Team Hawkins did a better job of rallying senior voters, and because a third candidate in the race, Planning Board Member Janice Morrell, chewed into Page’s base. When Page retired from politics after his 2008 loss, Veira became Morrell’s campaign manager in two later unsuccessful mayoral forays.


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