None of the five mayoral candidates amassed more than 50 percent of the vote, so a run off will be held June 14. Residents who register to vote by this Monday will be able to vote in the runoff, according to the City Clerk's office.
Roberts and Marsh received 3,803 and 2,976 votes respectively.
Missing out on the runoff were school board member and businessman Frank Raia with 2,004 votes, Councilman Michael Russo with 1,259 votes, and community activist Evelyn Smith with 289. According to the City Clerk, Roberts won 37 percent of the vote, with Marsh getting 29 percent.
Run-off in council future
Also, because none of the 17 candidates for the City Council amassed 50 percent of the vote, the top six go to a runoff. Adding a nice symmetry to the runoff, the top six council vote-getters were Roberts and Marsh's three-member slates.
Roberts' candidates are incumbent Councilman and Paterson schoolteacher Ruben Ramos Jr. (3,405 votes), schoolteacher and former housing board member Terry LaBruno (3,067), and attorney Peter Cammarano (2,675 votes).
Marsh is running with incumbent Councilman Tony Soares (2,795), attorney and "pay-to-play" reform advocate Brian Urbano (2,242 votes), and Inés García Keim (2,446 votes), who works for an airline and is a co founder of the Puerto Rican Cultural Committee Scholarship Fund and the Hoboken Charter School.
At Roberts' headquarters
Both Roberts' and Marsh's headquarters were filled with cheering fans Tuesday night. Optimism was the word at Roberts' storefront, as over 150 supporters gathered to cheer on the mayor and his slate.
Roberts is the 37th mayor of the city of Hoboken. He says his priorities for the next four years are the continuation of quality of life issues, such as the implementation of the master plan for development, and achieving the plan's open space and recreation goals.
Roberts also has noted the importance of the public schools' educational partnership with the Stevens Institute of Technology, and the development of affordable housing.
Striking an upbeat message, Roberts thanked those who worked hard for his campaign, and urged them to keep up the effort for the next five weeks.
"Those that are here tonight understand that Hoboken is a great city, and our greatest years are in front of us," Roberts told the cheering crowd.
He added that he is looking forward to the challenge of running against Marsh. "This is the matchup we wanted for a year and a half," Roberts said.
Roberts added Wednesday morning that he was pleased with the results, and that he feels that an 800-vote lead is a substantial margin he hopes to improve. He also said that he believes that a large percentage of Russo and Raia's votes will be transferable to him, and his candidates.
"I was very satisfied and very appreciative for those who cast their vote for me," Roberts said. "The vote [tally] was precisely what our polling data has shown all along."
Tuesday night, state Sen. Bernard Kenny, who is one of Roberts' closest allies, also addressed the large crowd. "We came in first and now we will bring in a unified Hoboken family, and together we are going to win this election in five weeks," said Kenny to the cheering crowd. "Carol Marsh has topped out at 2,900, and I confident that we are going win this election in five weeks by an overwhelming majority."
At the Marsh HQ
Likewise, there was a joyous mood at the Marsh's campaign headquarters.
"The mayor spent tremendous amounts of developers' money," Marsh said. "But we have something better. We have you."
Marsh told her faithful supporters, most of whom were decked out in bright orange shirts, "It's really exciting; it shows what a community can do when we come together."
Marsh first became active in Hoboken politics in the mid 1990s when she fought against redevelopment plans that would have built a high-rise office building on Pier A. Only through a grassroots movement was the plan defeated.
Marsh is running on a platform of controlling city spending, acquiring open space, effectively planning development, and making government accessible to the public. Marsh has been critical of Roberts' performance and said that while in power, Roberts increased spending by about $18 million, acquired no new land for open space, and hasn't effectively managed development. Councilman Soares, who is in the council runoff, shared in the good mood.
"Two-thirds of the voters said they want a change in City Hall," Soares said, referring to the number of people who backed the four non-Roberts candidates. He later added that he is confident that their teams will be able to sway more of the voters for Russo, Smith and Raia than will Roberts.
"For you people to help us to put an incumbent mayor in a run off, it is huge," he added. "That means more than any developer contribution that Mayor Roberts has gotten."
Urbano added that he is happy to be in the run-off, but isn't nearly satisfied. "I don't believe in moral victories; I believe in winning, about changing Hoboken for the better," Urbano said, "about putting an end to a political machine which has done nothing but bankrupt this city."
Marsh has run a campaign of attacking Roberts on accepting donations from developers and city contractors, saying he has taken "pay to play" money, implying the developers are hoping for favors. Marsh has also asked local developers for contributions, but she says she is asking for less than $400 and telling them she expects a fair playing field.
Roberts has made the point in his literature that four years ago, when Marsh ran with him, she didn't object to using his campaign sources.
The two have also butted heads over how to fund this year's steadily climbing municipal budget.
What will Raia do?
Third-place finisher Frank Raia thanked his supporters Tuesday night and said he is now taking a few days off.
"My supporters and I are taking a few days to rest from a grueling an election," Raia said in a statement. "Next week we'll meet to consider the best way to continue to work make Hoboken better. We thank everyone who took the time to vote last week."
Raia's opinion is well sought-after now, being that he can endorse either Roberts or Marsh for the runoff. He has been critical on Roberts' record on parking, but also was criticized by Marsh for being a real estate developer. Raia is one of those redeveloping the northwest quadrant of the city, and Marsh criticized that in her literature.
Marsh's literature also claimed that Raia "has been silent on actual corruption and wrongdoing" and faces budget problems at the Board of Education.
So will Raia endorse either candidate, and why? And will his supporters follow his path, or vote independently? That remains to be seen.
Michael Russo reflects
This election just wasn't the right time for Councilman Michael Russo. In a fit of very bad timing, Russo's father, former Mayor Anthony Russo, was in court a week ago, where his lawyer said that he lost most, if not all, of the $317,000 he took in bribes on gambling. Anthony Russo is scheduled to be sentenced this Tuesday and is looking at 27 to 33 months in federal prison for taking bribes for the city's former auditor.
Obviously, this didn't help Michael Russo's results, although he had to battle with the scepter of his father's corruption all along. He had said all through the campaign that he is his own man, and that his father's misdeeds were wrong.
Russo said Wednesday that he is very thankful for all of the 1,259 Hobokenites that voted for him. "I'm proud of our campaign," Russo said, "We stuck to the issues and we didn't get involved in political badgering."
Russo, who at 29 was the youngest candidate in the race, said that before he endorses anyone, the first thing he is going to do is walk about his ward and the city to thank his supporters. At a later date, he said, he might consider endorsing either Roberts or Marsh. But whoever he supports, Russo said, he still stands by his platform that the city needs to exhibit fiscal responsibly and scale down development, with more affordable housing options.
What about the independents?
There were two council independents in the race. One, former two-term councilman Andrew Amato, garnered 551 votes.
The other independent received an extremely strong showing for a political newcomer. Internet marketing executive Scott Delea obtained 1,323 votes. That total means that about 13 percent of all voters pulled the lever for Delea.
With little budget but a strong work ethic, Delea was able to beat out the entire slates of Smith and Russo, which is no small feat.
"Over the course of the past three months," Delea said on his campaign weblog Wednesday morning, "I have had a chance to meet thousands of people ranging from lifelong residents living in public housing to wealthy young families living on the waterfront. Running for office was a life changing and exciting experience."
Delea's 1,300 votes will be coveted by those running for council. Delea said last week that he is first going to thank his supporters, and then consider endorsing any of the remaining candidates. It is clear that before the election, Delea had some concerns about both main camps. In his blog before the election, he encouraged his supporters to vote for anyone except Roberts in order to force a runoff between Roberts and another candidate. But that didn't mean he endorsed Marsh, either.
"Carol Marsh's team is considered the most likely runners up for mayor and council," he wrote. "I have tried hard to keep a positive dialog with them, give them the benefit of the doubt...I have heard Carol's team has come to view me and my campaign as a threat rather than the positive part of the solution I really am. Perhaps it is just the result of a couple of 'bad seeds' on that team. I hope so, and if so, those individuals need to be taken off that team if Carol's supporters really want to lead this city."
Fundraising high; turnout low
Every Hoboken resident over the past month has surely seen their mailbox inundated with political mailings. All of these flyers, which cost thousands of dollars to produce, certainly didn't force widespread interest in this election, considering there was less than one third of voter turnout. Without a gubernatorial or presidential election to piggyback, Tuesday turnout was a lukewarm 10,342 voters, which represented around only 32 percent of Hoboken's voting public.
It also failed to trump the election of four years ago. The May, 2001 election between then-Councilman David Roberts and incumbent Anthony Russo, also a hotly contested election, garnered a turnout of about 43 percent of the electorate.
But even with the light turnout, the campaigns spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to get their message out.
According to the most recent ELEC Reports, Roberts has raised over $476,870 for his re election bid through the Hoboken Democratic Party, which Roberts happens to chair, as well as Friends of David Roberts and Team Roberts, his political organizations.
This is much more than what any of his opponents have been able to raise. Incumbents typically have a huge advantage when it comes to fundraising. The majority of Roberts' money has come from developers, lawyers, accountants and other vendors who do business with New Jersey municipalities.
According to state campaign finance reports, Raia raised $204,350, of which he self-funded $165,000; Russo raised $104,145; Marsh raised $99,242, and Evelyn Smith raised $9,100. In total, the candidates raised $936,107 and, to this point, more than $650,000 has been spent. That doesn't include what was spent on Election Day itself. Those reports aren't due yet. On Election Day, hordes of high school students were paid $50 each to wear campaign T-shirts and hand out campaign literature.
It's a lot of money for an election that drew only 10,331 voters. In fact, if the number of dollars raised is divided by the total number of voters, then slightly over $90 was raised for every person that went to the poll.
If one were to look at Roberts' total contributions of $476,870 and divide that by the total amount of votes he received, it works to over $125 raised per voter. - TJ