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Town Council Elections in Caldwell/West Caldwell

By: Enzo Whetton

While New Jersey’s gubernatorial election took center stage early in November, local elections took place concurrently in Caldwell and West Caldwell. For some students, this was the first time that they could participate in an election. In West Caldwell, Jessica Almeida (D) and Christy Lazarow (D) faced off against incumbents Michael Crudele (R) and Stanley Hladik (R). Caldwell’s incumbents Francis X. Rodgers III (D) and Christine Schmidt (D) tried to fend off Barbara Buechner (R) and Rick Alonso (R). 

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West Caldwell’s council was totally composed of Republicans entering this year’s election, headed by mayor Joseph Tempesta (R). The people of West Caldwell seem to be quite content with their representatives, reelecting both Crudele and Hladik to another term. Both candidates earned roughly 2,600 votes from their constituents, while each member of the opposition totaled around 1,700 votes each. 

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On the other end of the political spectrum, the six seats on Caldwell’s council were all filled by Democrats, headed by mayor John Kelley (D). Leading up to the election, the incumbent candidates were trying to defend policies put into place, like the new development being built on Lane Avenue. There were also concerns regarding the community center and flooding, including the floods which led to the destruction of the Caldwell Public Library. In the end, Schmidt and Rodgers were unable to hold off their opponents, losing by roughly 100 votes each to their Republican challengers.

Caldwell’s constituency was obviously displeased with the policies being put into place by the council and was looking for a change, while West Caldwell’s population is content to continue with the status quo. 

Every year, two council seats are up for election in both towns. Next year will be important to see if Democrats can finally earn a seat on West Caldwell’s council, and in Caldwell it is important to see if Republicans can tip the scales in their favor and gain a majority on the council, or if the incumbents in both elections can hold off their challengers.

Sources:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/west-essex/sections/education/articles/hladik-and-crudele-unofficial-winners-in-west-caldwell-council-election

https://patch.com/new-jersey/caldwells/council-races-caldwells-see-early-2021-election-results

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