Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paterson Council Vets Win at Polls

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paterson Council Vets Win at Polls

Article excerpt

Riding a wave of 1,009 mail-in votes, challenger Shahin Khalique held a narrow lead over incumbent Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman Tuesday night in Paterson's hotly contested 2nd Ward City Council race.

Khalique was in fourth place based on votes cast in polling places, but surged into first with the absentee vote tally. He holds a 40-vote edge over Akhtaruzzaman, 1,386 to 1,346 -- but that does not include challenged ballots cast on Election Day, which have yet to be counted.

Far behind were Aslon Goow, with 726, and Eddie Gonzalez, with 472.

Khalique's rivals have said during the past week that they may file legal challenges concerning some of his vote-by-mail ballots. The candidate spent $90,000 of his own money on the campaign, during which he proclaimed he would garner at least 1,000 mail-in ballots.

Incumbents in the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th wards won Tuesday night with strong margins based on unofficial tallies for all 68 election districts and mail-in ballots.

In the 5th Ward, Luis Velez, prevailed with 1,001 votes to 553 for Wendy Guzman and 371 for Chrystal Cleaves.

Veteran council members Bill McKoy in the 3rd Ward and Andre Sayegh in the 6th Ward survived fierce challenges in unofficial tallies.

McKoy had 1,028 votes, followed by Flavio Rivera with 718, and Lilisa Mimms, with 479, and Kenneth Simmons, with 351.

In the 6th Ward, the city's only one-on-one race and a contest conducted with all the fierceness of a pro wrestling steel-cage- match, Sayegh had 1,569 votes to 1,084 for Al Abdelaziz.

Abdelaziz, athletic department supervisor for the Passaic city school district, is the only candidate to receive Mayor Joey Torres' public endorsement. Torres defeated Sayegh in the 2014 mayoral election.

Incumbents have prevailed in the 1st and 4th wards. Restaurant owner Michael Jackson won a full four-year stint in the 1st Ward seat that he assumed in a November special election.

Jackson had 936, followed by Veronica Ovalles, with 389 and Antoinette Brevard, with 212.

Retiree Ruby N. Cotton outdistanced her challengers in the 4th Ward, with 772 votes. Finishing second was Della Fischer, with 609, and Juan Kivelier Sosa, with 300. …

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