WATCH: Mendez Promises to Make History in Paterson Mayoral Election (VIDEO)

PATERSON – Running as the guy who promises to make up with people power what he lacks in bank heft, At-Large Councilman Alex Mendez opened his Market Street headquarters this afternoon across the street from the old armory and just up the street from City Hall.

“It’s going to be Mendez versus [6th Ward Councilman Andre] Sayegh,” a source in the room told InsiderNJ, where political minder Henry Sosa, Mendez’s campaign manager, held court in the back as the candidate swarmed a loving crowd 50 days from Election Day.

Mendez electrified.

“Keep an eye on McKoy, too,” the source added, referring to the 3rd Ward Councilman.

There’s a narrative out there that Mendez hasn’t logged the man hours of Sayegh and McKoy, and he hit that in his speech at headquarters, noting five years of service as an elected official aboard the Paterson Board of Education and nearly four years as a councilman, before veering into his favorite narrative: man of the people running against outside financial influence.  He’s raised about $37,000 to date, according to ELEC, with a paltry $150 in the bank at last count – but he sees it as a strength against what he and his campaign bewail as the ill-begotten Democratic Party-connected $100K-plus campaign of Sayegh, who has a robust $90,000 cash on hand.

The crowd.

“I’ve been fighting against those tax increases that are taking our kids and our families outside the city,” Mendez – standing with his wife – told an upbeat audience. “I’ve been elected for nine years working for our community. Now you hear a lot of comments from some of those opponents who say, ‘Don’t worry. Mendez doesn’t have any money.’

“Volunteers are supporting me,” the councilman added. “We made history in 2010 as the highest vote getter in the Paterson Board of Education elections. Without resources, we made history in 2013 when we were reelected, and in 2014 with almost 8,000 votes with limited resources; and we’re going to make history now, 50 days away in 2018, on May 8th, by being the highest vote getter because the power is in the people.”

To his point about riding the wave of Dominican immigration in the city into elected office, Mendez feels he has raw numbers on his side, a natural fit augmented by his own considerable campaign skills. As soon as the door to his HQ swung open, the candidate scampered into the room and – radiating good energy – worked one side of the room and then the other inside five minutes flat. But McKoy’s and Sayegh’s allies note the presence of three Latino candidates in the contest – former Deputy Mayor Pedro Rodriguez and Paterson PBA Prez Alex Cruz the other two – and like the chances of either of their preferred candidates to sneak into City Hall.

Davila, left.

But At-Large Councilwoman Maritza Davila feels strongly enough about Mendez to endorse him, a choice she made clear at the front of the room this afternoon. Flavio Rivera, a School Board member running for an at-large seat this year, also proudly backs Mendez, and said so at the campaign HQ opening. Flavio’s fellow School Board Member Joel Ramirez likewise added his voice to the Mendez cause, pointedly echoing the candidate’s case for raw people power.

The revelers




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