Saddle Brook councilman Andrew Cimiluca will keep his seat for another four years, results certified Wednesday by the Bergen County Board of Elections confirmed.
It had been clear the night of the election that Florence Mazzer and Joseph Camilleri would claim the first two of the seats up for grabs on the council, but a narrow margin between incumbent Cimiluca and challenger Omar Rodriguez for third place made the last open seat too close to call.
As of November 6, Cimiluca had a lead of only 32 votes, with provisional and absentee ballots yet to be counted. Absentee voters had expected to be more numerous than in recent elections due to Hurricane Sandy.
In provisional ballots, Rodriguez, a former council president and vocal critic since last leaving office, held an advantage, beating Cimiluca by a margin of almost two to one. But when the provisional ballots ran out Monday, Cimiluca was left standing with an 8 vote lead.
Cimiluca admitted he was a bit surprised by the narrow margins in this election. “You never think it’s going to come down to single digits,” he told Patch in an interview after the results were certified.
But, the Republican says, part of that narrow victory comes from his party affiliation in an election where Saddle Brook voters generally favored Democrats by much wider margins.
“I’m happy to be re-elected in a year that Bergen County, at least, was dominated by Democrats. I’m happy to see that the people saw fit to cross party lines and vote for me.”
Rodriguez has yet to concede the election results, claiming that provisional ballots have been disqualified in an amount larger than the margin of victory.
"I want to know why these votes didn't qualify," he told Patch Wednesday. "I'm going to take some time to explore my options and take it from there."
He also claims that he was not given the chance to be present at the tallying of the provisional ballots. In a Tweet to supporters Tuesday night, Rodriguez asked: "Do you think I should ask for a recount?"