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Bergen's Most Lopsided 2019 Primary Win: Incumbent Upper Saddle River Mayor Crushes Upstart

Incumbent Upper Saddle River Mayor Joanne Minichetti
Incumbent Upper Saddle River Mayor Joanne Minichetti Photo Credit: COURTESY: USR Republicans

Incumbent Upper Saddle River Mayor Joanne Minichetti easily defeated an upstart candidate Tuesday in one of only eight municipalities in Bergen County that had contested primaries.

In the most convincing defeat of all of Bergen's primary races, Minichetti got 75% of the vote (525) to a meager 171 for Erik Friis in the borough’s Republican runoff, according to unofficial results from the county Board of Elections.

Her Republican running mates, Councilmen Jonathan Ditkoff and Douglas Rotella, were unopposed.

Minichetti will face Marshall Grupp in the November election. He was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Political observers said Friis, who was driven by environmental issues, might have stood a better chance by running as an Independent in November. Instead, they said, his loss is one of the worst in recent borough history.

Minichetti pointed to Upper Saddle River having the 7th-lowest municipal tax of Bergen's 70 municipalities, highly respected schools, an ability to stave off high-density housing while encouraging renovation, among other attributes of what she called a centrally-located 5.3-square-mile borough with "a rural feel."

Unofficial 2019 Upper Saddle River Republican primary results.

COURTESY: Bergen County Board of Elections

Things were a lot closer Tuesday in Edgewater, where incumbent Mayor Michael McParkland won by only three votes over upstart challenger Jin Han Kim, according to unofficial results.

In Rutherford’s Democratic primary, Frank Nunziato (1,003) handily defeated Stephanie McGowan (791) to replace Mayor Joseph DeSalvo – a Republican who became a Democrat earlier this year.

On the Republican side, Marc Marsi (331) defeated John Grande (147) to become the party’s choice to oppose Nunziato.

In Leonia, Democratic Mayor Judah Ziegler handily beat a challenge by Councilman Gregory Makroulakis – 886 votes to 469.

Attention was on Elmwood Park, where former Mayor Robert Colletti made a return, winning the Republican primary over Maggie Giandomenico,

His opponent hasn’t been determined yet.

Incumbent Mayor Frank Caramagna stepped down from the post two months ago as part of a plea deal with prosecutors who’ve charged him with voter fraud.

SEE: Now-Former Elmwood Park Mayor Calls Voter Fraud Charges 'Politically Motivated'

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