There were few surprises in local races last night. With unofficial results in, the Jersey City Education Association-backed candidates for the Board of Education prevailed, coming in first, second and third among a field of eight candidates.
In congressional races, Hudson County proved, once again, to be a one-party town with Rob Menendez and Donald Payne both cruising to victory, with each garnering over 70% of the vote.
If Board of Ed candidate Alexander Hamilton was hoping to be rewarded for his vote against the controversial $974 million 2022 school budget, his hopes were dashed as he place fourth, edged out by Afaf Muhammad.
All nine BOE seats will now be filled by members who were supported by the JCEA.
Ron Greco, President of the Jersey City Education Association, said “I’m happy with the results, obviously” but added “although we have endorsed these people, we have supported these people, we hope they do the right thing, there have been many, many times where it’s been demonstrated that they are not just a rubber stamp of the union, I know that’s what some detractors will say.”
Rob Menendez, 36, was running to succeed retiring Albio Sires in the 8th congressional district, and will represent largely the same area that his father, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez Sr. represented until 2006. The district spans portions of North Bergen, Union City, Hoboken, Jersey City, Bayonne, Elizabeth, and Newark.
Menendez received the backing of virtually the entire Democratic establishment as well as organized labor. Menendez senior was thrust into the news again recently when it was disclosed that he is the subject of a federal investigation.
Payne who has held his father’s former seat in New Jersey’s 10th congressional district since 2012 also received widespread establishment backing. His district encompasses portions of Essex, Hudson and Union counties, and includes the cities of Newark and Orange. Payne was criticized recently for signing on to a letter from a small group of congressional Democrats suggesting the reconsideration of the Biden administration’s policy towards Ukraine.
The Board of Education contest was essentially a reprise of prior races, with the JCEA running candidates under the Education Matters banner against the developer backed Change for Children slate, of which Velazquez had been a member in 2019.