In an upset of epic proportions, Bayonne Police Capt. James Davis was elected mayor on Tuesday night, beating incumbent Mark Smith in a runoff.
According to the Hudson County Board of Elections, as of 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Davis had 51.3 percent of the vote to Smith’s 48.7 percent. In addition, Davis’s coattails were long, with all four of his council candidates recording victories.
However, all of the races were extremely close, with only a few hundred votes separating the candidates. Davis will have four years to sway voters from the other side.
‘They said I had no shot’
“Who would have ever believed this?” Davis said incredulously minutes after learning of his victory on Tuesday. “Six months ago they said I was crazy and had no shot.”
Davis and Smith had to face off in this second contest when neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote in the May 13 regular election. That was due to the presence of third candidate Anthony Zanowic, who took 4 percent of the vote that day.
Davis’s supporters broke into cheers a little after 9 p.m. when he claimed victory in the election, appearing in the second-floor window of the San Vito Pizzeria on Broadway, where his campaign was tabulating vote totals.
In the at-large council race, Sharon Nadrowski and Juan Perez of the Davis slate received unofficial vote totals of 26 percent and 25.9 percent respectively, edging out Council President Terrence Ruane and Councilwoman Debra Czerwienski, both of Smith’s team, who garnered 25.3 and 22.7 percent respectively.
In the 2nd Ward race, Davis running mate Salvatore Gullace received 50.6 percent to Councilman Joseph Hurley’s (Smith) 49.3 percent.
The 3rd Ward contest was also close, with Gary La Pelusa of the Davis ticket amassing 50.4 percent of the vote, besting Councilman Raymond Greaves (Smith) and his 49.6 percent.
Old fashioned work
Nadrowski attributed the council victories to old-fashioned campaigning.
“We were getting out there and being with the people,” she said. “We were knocking on doors. We did hard work. We met with the people face to face.”
The race, however, also saw some of the most vicious mudslinging in Hudson County.
City ready for change
Davis campaign treasurer Robert Wondolowski said the city was ready for a change, contending that Bayonne was “let down” by the Smith administration.
“It’s a great community, but that feeling was lost over the last six years,” he said. “The people of Bayonne embraced what they saw as resurgence for the city.”