PATERSON, NJ - Paterson Fifth Ward Councilman Luis Velez became the first official candidate in the 2020 races for city council on Friday. In a letter reviewed by TAPinto Paterson City Clerk Sonia Gordon certified that he had submitted a "sufficient" number of signed petitions to appear on the May 12 ballot.

Velez, who was also the first potential candidate to pick up the nominating forms on December 15, said that he had collected nearly 500 signatures. Election guidelines call for 118 valid signatures to be certified to appear on the ballot for the Fifth Ward seat.

"I am taking this seriously," Velez said when asked why he thought it was important to collect nearly three times the number of required signatures, and move the process forward as quickly as he did. "Now I can put my focus on to knocking on doors and speaking to residents that already know me, as well as getting to new neighbors all across the community."

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"I’m running like it’s my first time,” Velez said previously. “We have seen good results in the Fifth Ward and we will keep working."

His message to any challengers that may appear on the ballot with him, “the needs of the Fifth Ward are 24-7, they don’t just come up around Election Day.

Ricardo Cuebos has also picked up petitions in an apparent challenge to Velez in the Fifth Ward. A total of 15 potential candidates have picked up petitions for the six ward races. Potential candidates have until 4:00 p.m. on Monday, March 9 to submit the required signatures.

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