By LINDA MOSS
Montclair’s hometown gubernatorial candidate, Jim Johnson, got the overwhelming support of the township in Tuesday’s primary, garnering nearly 40 percent more votes than the winner for the Democratic nomination for governor, Phil Murphy.
Johnson, a former U.S. Treasury official during the Clinton administration, received 3,891 votes in Montclair, garnering the most votes in the municipality among all the Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination for governor in the November election, according to preliminary results released by the Essex County Clerk’s Office on Wednesday.
Murphy, a veteran Wall Street executive, got 2,430 votes in the township. Murphy, who won the Democratic nomination with 48 percent of the statewide vote, is a former Goldman Sachs executive and ex-U.S. Ambassador to Germany.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) tallied 750 votes in Montclair in the gubernatorial primary, with State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-20) getting 101 votes and former Teaneck firefighter William Brennan coming in last, with 73 votes.
Montclair had the highest turnout in the primary for Democrats of all the municipalities in Essex County, 40.6 percent, with 7,326 votes cast. That dwarfed the Republican turnout on Tuesday in Montclair, which was only 12 percent, or 316 votes. The township’s Democratic turnout was also greater than that in the entire county, which was 25.8 percent, and the state as a whole, at 24.2 percent.
In the general election Murphy will face Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who won the GOP gubernatorial candidacy with about 47 percent of the vote statewide. But she was No. 2 in Montclair, behind Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16). He garnered 137 votes, while Guadagno had 104.
They were followed in Montclair by: Hirsh Singh, an aerospace executive and engineer from Atlantic County, with 60 votes; Steven Rogers, a Nutley Township Commissioner, with 25 votes; and Joseph Rullo, an actor from Ocean County, with 14 votes.
Looking at the primary in Montclair ward by ward, for the Democrats the Second Ward had the largest turnout, 44.1 percent. The Fourth Ward had the lowest, 36.8 percent.
For the GOP, the largest turnout, 17.4 percent, was in the Second Ward, with the least in the Third Ward, 9.5 percent.
Johnson landed the most votes, 1,176, in the Second Ward, and the least in the Third Ward, 819. Murphy did best in the Fourth Ward, with 713 votes, and the least in the First Ward, 510 votes.
On the Republican side, Ciattarelli tallied 47 votes each in the First and Second wards. Guadagno received the most votes in the First ward, 40, and the least in the Fourth Ward, 14.