LIVINGSTON, NJ — According to the unofficial election results provided by the Essex County Clerk’s Office, Michael Vieira—a 13-year resident of Livingston who has served as an appointed member of the township council for the last seven months—has been selected to serve as the fifth member of the Livingston Township Council in 2020.
The unofficial results determined that Vieira, a Democratic candidate, pulled ahead of Republican challenger Brandon Minde with 56.2 percent of the vote, or 2,725 total votes. Minde, also a 13-year Livingston resident, tallied a total of 2,121 votes, or about 43.8 percent, in comparison.
“Community service has always been in my family and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid,” Vieira said after hearing the results. “I've always wanted to step up and to be a council member and represent all the residents of whatever town I lived in, but I love Livingston and I wanted to continue to work with the great team of Al Anthony, Rudy Fernandez, Shawn Klein and Ed Meinhardt.
“I’m humbled that a majority of the voters put me back in there. I guess I did something good that allowed me to get their votes…I’m looking forward to another year, and I’m looking forward to running again with Al Anthony in 2020.”
Although municipal elections are typically only held on “even” years in Livingston, the Democratic vacancy left at the start of the year by resigning council member Michael Silverman caused the need to appoint a candidate to fill the empty seat until the next general election in November 2019.
After being selected by the Livingston Democratic County Committee (LDCC) in February to fill the vacancy, Vieira quickly developed a passion for the position and decided to run as a candidate in the 2019 election.
As Vieira’s term will expire on Dec. 31, 2020, along with current mayor Al Anthony’s, the newly elected councilman has already announced his intention to run for re-election in the November 2020 race.
During a post-election celebration on Tuesday night, Vieira “respectfully requested” that Livingston resident Pat Sebold, chair of the LDCC and Essex County Freeholder At-Large, name him as the committee’s Democratic candidate for the 2020 election so that he can continue his service to the Livingston community.
“[Vieira] was a fantastic candidate [in 2019],” Sebold said as the final tallies came in. “I think Michael Vieira worked harder than anyone I’ve ever seen work in my whole life; and I mean that county-wide…He worked so hard, and he certainly deserves this position.”
Vieira also proudly stated that the 2019 council election was not a “Democratic vs. Republican election,” but rather a race between two individuals. During his post-election speech, he thanked all of the Republican and unaffiliated voters who “came over the line” to support his campaign.
“On Feb. 25, thanks to the county committee, I was given the opportunity to serve; but honestly, that opportunity did not come from the voters,” said Vieira. “Tonight, the voters put me on the council. Tonight, some of the voters said that ‘Michael Vieira belongs on the council,’ and I thank them for it…
“Livingston is such a great community. We have a community of different races, religions, cultures, beliefs […] but we come together as one community, and we live as one community, and that’s what makes Livingston so special.”
Minde, who ran against three township council incumbents in 2018, also jumped at the opportunity to run again in the 2019 race. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment following Tuesday’s announcement.
The results of this election are not considered official until they are certified by the state. Click HERE to read more about Councilman Michael Vieira.