Fort Lee Democrats Retain Seats on Borough Council
Incumbents Joseph Cervieri and Harvey Sohmer easily beat their Republican challengers Tuesday.
The Fort Lee Borough Council will once again remain the same, all Democratic, after both incumbents won reelection Tuesday.
In unofficial results and with an unknown number of absentee ballots yet to be counted, incumbent Councilman and current Council president Joseph Cervieri was the top vote getter, with 6,318. His running mate, incumbent Councilman Harvey Sohmer received 6,271 votes, both numbers easily enough to defeat Republican challengers Thomas A. Bennett and Peter B. “Mack” Campbell, who received 3,458 and 3,285 votes respectively.
"I am glad that the voters of Fort Lee had the confidence in me to elect me to serve them for another three years," said Sohmer, who was first elected to the Council in 2008. "I plan to continue to bring good and honest government to the borough residents."
Cervieri thanked all the people "who returned Harvey and me to serve on the Fort Lee Borough Council."
"We will continue to provide all residents top quality governmental services in the most cost-effective manner possible," Cervieri said. "I look forward to the next three years in moving Fort Lee forward to be the envy of Bergen County and the State of New Jersey."
Bennett congratulated the winners and said he hopes that what he and Campbell said during their campaign "strikes a note" with them.
“I garnered about 36 percent of the vote without about 9,000 people voting," Bennett said. "The storm and power outages were difficult on many people. Since we have a representative voice in the community, we will continue to speak out when needed. There are three times more Democrats than Republicans, yet we didn't lose three to one."
Campbell said he would issue a statement at a later time.
Campbell, who ran for Council once before—he ran in 2003, when he opposed now Bergen County Freeholder Joan Voss of Fort Lee and Cervieri—had previously said he and Bennett were not taking any campaign money because of “personal beliefs.”
He also said that he and Bennett were “on board with everything,” including not taking money and not using lawn signs, while running on the following four campaign promises: Passing a town ordinance banning red light cameras in Fort Lee; no new taxes and no tax increases “across the board,” including no new fines, no penalties assessments or bonds; a moratorium on spending; and “accountability and objectivity.”
Bennett, a retired postal worker and former Fort Lee Board of Education member and president, had previously announced that the Republicans would not be using lawn signs and called on his opponents to do the same, something the Democrats declined to do.
Cervieri has served as a member of Fort Lee’s governing body since 1997, and ran with Sohmer on a platform to serve “all residents of Fort Lee by providing good government services [in] the most cost-effective manner.”
As of Oct. 24, there were 19,719 registered voters in Fort Lee, according to Borough Clerk Neil Grant, who said that between May 28 and Oct. 24, 951 voters were added to the registration list.
No absentee numbers were available as of Wednesday.
Patch will update this article with more on the Fort Lee Council election.