WEST ORANGE, NJ - West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi trounced his opponents to handily win re-election with 56 percent of the vote in the contentious mayoral race, while Councilman Susan McCartney received 31 percent and Councilman Victor Cirilo, 16.2 percent of the vote to retain their seats on the Township Council.
Unofficial results from the Essex County Clerk's Office showed Parisi the clear winner with 6,652 votes. Joe Krakoviak was a distant second with 2,761; Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. was third with 1,728; and Rodolfo Rodriguez was fourth with 704.
McCartney lead the crowded pack of township council candidates with 5,365 votes. Cirilo garnered 2,771 votes, narrowly beating out Irv Schwarzbaum, who received 2,634 votes. The remaining council votes were split between Akil Khalfani, 1,904; Bob Hoatson, 1,835; Jean-Claude Cenatus, 1,494; and Christopher DarConte, 1,071.
Supporters of Mayor Parisi, Susan McCartney and Victor Cirilo gathered for election returns at the Essex House on Northfield Avenue.
Parisi was introduced by his son, Robert, who said, "This past summer everyone praised Derek Jeter for doing things his way and the right way. Now I stand here to praise you for the last 16 plus years...you've done things not only your way but the right way. Win, lose, or tie, you're still a champion."
He continued, "I stand here on behalf of everyone to thank you for your service and dedication to our community...I am proud to be your son."
An emotional Parisi said, "I'm at a loss for words."
"This election has been overwhelming," he went on to say. "We may not have gotten everything right, but every decision was made with the best of intentions and to do what we felt was best for this community."
"I feel very blessed," Parisi continued. "Despite people's efforts to say there are so many things wrong, we know this community is a very special place to live."
Rodolfo Rodriguez told TAP into West Orange, "We did our best. The results didn't happen. We will continue to run. I congratulate the Mayor for a great campaign."
Joe Krakoviak said, "I think the election results speak for themselves. Mayor Parisi ran a very strong campaign."
TAP into West Orange was unable to reach Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., for comments.
Of her landslide re-election, Susan McCartney said, "As I went all around campaigning, people kept telling me that we were doing a good job, and that this is a great town."
Victor Cirilo noted, "I gave it my all. There are so many good people in West Orange."
Laura Lab, who ran unopposed for the West Orange Board of Education, received 5,241 votes. A last minute write-in campaign generated 210 votes.
In other West Orange ballot news, Democrat Cory Booker was re-elected with 104,364 votes over Republican Jeff Bell's 29,109.
In the 10th Congressional district race, Democrat Donald Payne, Jr. was re-elected with 58,642 votes and in the eleventh Congressional district race, Republican Rodney Frelinghyusen narrowly defeated Democrat Mark Dunec, 22,574-21,023.
Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo (D) received 78 percent with 93,609 votes over Republican challenger Peter Tannella's 28,258 votes.
Dana Rone was elected Register of Deeds and Mortgages (D - 86,117) over James Boydston (R - 29,695).
In the freeholder race, Democrats Patricia Sebold, Rufus Johnson, and Brendan Gill, were re-elected, along with newcomer Lebby Jones. West Orange resident Adam Kraemer, who ran on the Republican ticket, garnered 6.5% of the popular vote but was not elected.
For West Orange District Four Freeholder, Leonard Luciano (D) narrowly won re-election over Rich Leonard (R), 17,914 - 17,002.
Both public questions passed statewide; the first, regarding the denial of bail in cases with a history of the same crime; and the second, to allow six percent of business taxes to be used for open space.
TAP into West Orange will provide additional information and updates as they become available.
For updated information on the election results, go to the Essex County Clerk website at: http://www.essexclerk.com/election/ElectionFrame.html.