Vertreese Victorious in Hillside Nailbiter

HILLSIDE – Pablo Fonseca wants a recount.

But as of right now, with late vote totals coming in from the community center, Dahlia Vertreese’s strong point, Vertreese appears to have defeated Jorge Batista by 28 votes in the Hillside mayoral runoff.

The vote total stood at 1,739 to 1,711.

Around 8:30 p.m., Batista gave a moving concession speech in his Liberty Avenue headquarters in the midst of a downbeat, exhausted and rain-spattered crowd.

Backed by former Mayor Joe Menza, defeated general election contenders Salonia Saxton and Sip Whitaker, and the beneficiary of a late mail assist by Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20), the attorney ran a man against the machine candidacy.

In the end, Vertreese and her council slate won with the combined support of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), Assemblyman Joe Cryan (D-20), the AFL-CIO and local Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Salters.

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