Passaic voters gave their support to the incumbent mayor Tuesday night over a veteran city employee. Mayor Alex Blanco won reelection, garnering 4,988 votes compared with 4,409 for challenger Vincent Capuana, according to unofficial results from the city clerk’s office. The win gives Blanco four years to fulfill his campaign promises of greater government transparency, helping small businesses, promoting redevelopment and providing more recreational opportunities for young people.”I’m happy that the people elected me for the second time,” Blanco said. “I started working in November to unite the city and I’m glad I have four years to move the city forward.”
Voters also reelected two incumbents and a newcomer to the City Council for three three-year terms.
Councilmen Daniel J. Schwartz and Jose R. Garcia garnered 3,301 and 3,262 votes, respectively, while newcomer Terrence L. Love received 3,452.
Out of 24,314 registered voters, 35.5 percent voted Tuesday or sent in absentee ballots.
Throughout the city, supporters of both candidates manned street corners near polling places. They held signs and cheered at honking cars passing by.
Meanwhile, voters who cast their ballots expressed differing reasons for supporting Blanco or Capuana.
Blanco supporters said they saw him as a fresh face of change in the city.
Mark Jaco, 45 of Boulevard, said, “I feel that he’s honest and we in Passaic have had a lot of problems with government officials abusing their positions to help themselves.”
Voters who cast ballots for Capuana said they did so because they had known him for years and felt he was more experienced and willing to work for all city residents.
“He supports the kids,” said Twana Strickland, 43, of Gregory Avenue. “He supports the community. He supports what’s going on from past to present.”
During the campaign, Blanco talked about the need to create greater transparency in city government and strengthen ethics reform. He also talked about plans to provide more financial help for small businesses and the need for redevelopment of vacant sites. For young people, he said the city needed more funding for anti-gang initiatives and more recreational opportunities.
Capuana spoke of prioritizing the redevelopment of vacant land and buildings. That would create jobs for city residents, he said. Capuana also spoke of the need to bring back young people who finish college. Lastly, he spoke of the need to provide more recreational opportunities for youth.
Blanco, 37, is a podiatrist who served on the Board of Education since 2005 until he won a special election last fall to fill the unfinished term of former Mayor Samuel Rivera.
Capuana, 69, has been on the Board of Education since 1983. He is the city’s director of housing inspectors.