HAWTHORNE, NJ - Pollsters and political scientists expect a low overall turn-out for the 2019 elections, given it is neither a national mid-term nor presidential election, but nevertheless, the elections on a local level will make very tangible impacts on the communities they serve. In Hawthorne, a spirited race has been in full swing and voters will finally make their decision Tuesday.
When Republican Councilman John Bertollo (Ward 2) announced he would not seek re-election, a race was sparked for his successor. Rayna Laoisa, who serves on the Hawthorne Environmental Commission, was the winner for the Republican nomination, initially challenged by Phil Speulda.
The Democratic ticket in Ward 2 presented one of the more unusual races in town, when Thomas Bushnauskas defeated the Hawthorne Democratic Organization-backed candidate by three votes in the primary. Bushnauskas has run his own campaign, independently of the support of the local party, which is running incumbent Councilman Joseph Wojetcki (Ward 1), Kimberly Maciejewski (Ward 3), and Jennifer D'Angelo (Ward 4) against the Team Goldberg ticket.
Team Goldberg, which has outspent the Democrats by $8,415 according to the latest campaign finance report, is running JoAnn Fitzsimmons (Ward 1), Councilman Garrett Sinning (Ward 3), and Council President Frank Matthews (Ward 4). Laoisa and Sinning both faced primary challenges, the Ward 3 race being contested by Carey Cornett, Jr., until his withdrawal from the race almost immediately after filing.
Ward 3 is a battleground of particular interest as it is the only ward to give voters three choices instead of two. Craig Cayetano of the Green Party has been running his own campaign, squaring off against an incumbent Republican as well as a Democrat challenger.
No matter what the outcome ultimately will be, one thing is certain: at absolute minimum, there will be at least one new face joining the Hawthorne Council in the next session, taking up the seat John Bertollo has held.
On Tuesday, the polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Voters unsure of where to go can click here to find their polling location.
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