Montclair’s 2020 municipal elections will take place — by mail-in ballot only due to the COVID-19 pandemic — through Tuesday, May 12. Ballots were mailed out to registered voters last month. If you are registered in Montclair and have not received your ballot, visit the Essex County Clerk’s website to apply for a replacement.
All seven positions on Montclair’s Township Council will be up for election: the mayor, two at-large council seats, and four ward council seats. Voters will vote for one mayor, two at-large councilors, and a councilor for the ward in which they live.
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There are 14 candidates in total, representing one slate of seven candidates, one slate of six candidates, and one independent candidate. Voters are voting for individuals, not entire slates.
The “Montclair 2020 Progress in Action” slate includes Sean Spiller (mayor), Bob Russo and Roger Terry (at-large), William Hurlock (First Ward), Robin Schlager (Second Ward), and Lori Price Abrams (Third Ward).
The “Your Voice Montclair” slate includes Renee Baskerville (mayor), James Cotter and Peter Yacobellis (at-large), John Hearn (First Ward), Christina Thomas (Second Ward), Marguerite Joralemon (Third Ward), and David Cummings (Fourth Ward).
Running independently is Carmel Loughman (at-large).
Below, you will find all of Montclair Local’s coverage of the municipal election, including issue statements from the candidates themselves, coverage of several election forums hosted by Montclair organizations, election news, and opinions from Montclair residents:
Meet the candidates
The candidates provided us their biographies, which you can read by clicking here.
Additionally, Montclair Local reached out to all 14 candidates for a Q&A on some of the key issues facing the township in the future. Their answers can be found on the following links:
- Mayoral candidates Renee Baskerville and Sean Spiller.
- At-large candidates James Cotter, Carmel Loughman, Bob Russo, Roger Terry, and Peter Yacobellis.
- First Ward candidates John Hearn and Bill Hurlock.
- Second Ward candidates Robin Schlager and Christina Thomas.
- Third Ward candidates Lori Price Abrams and Marguerite Joralemon.
- Fourth Ward candidate David Cummings.
- The mayoral candidates discussed education and equity issues in a May 1 forum hosted by the NAACP Youth Council and the Montclair High School Black Student Union. Click here to watch the entire forum on YouTube.
- The mayoral candidates also discussed education at an April 27 forum hosted by Montclair’s Parent Teacher Association Council.
- All 14 candidates took part in an April 22 forum on a variety of issues, hosted by the League of Women Voters, Aging In Montclair, and Montclair Local. Click here to watch the entire forum on YouTube.
Election news coverage
- The election season kicked off with the Feb. 10 announcement that Spiller and Baskerville would be running for mayor; that same week, Mayor Jackson did not deny a report that he would not seek re-election. The final list of 14 candidates in the 2020 election was finalized on March 9.
- The shape of the 2020 election changed dramatically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Murphy’s State of Emergency order led to the election being moved to a mail-in-ballot-only format. How did Montclair’s candidates manage to campaign and get their message out to voters? We checked in with the campaigns to find out.
- The candidates filed their fundraising reports with the state, with mayoral candidate Sean Spiller ($36,835) and at-large council candidate Peter Yacobellis ($28,398) having raised the most individually of the 14 candidates.
- A watchdog group claims that Sean Spiller has a conflict of interest due to his role with the NJEA, the state’s teacher’s union. Spiller fires back, accusing the group of being a well-financed right-wing organization that is “trying to buy the local election in Montclair.”