RIDGEFIELD, N.J. (CBS 2) – Some said it was democracy in action, but others called it a witch hunt.
Voters in Ridgefield, N.J., decided Tuesday to retain their mayor, Anthony Suarez, who was busted in a corruption sting.
One resident told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan that the town is “at a standstill” while the investigation continues. Many are hoping the decision will get things moving again.
According to unofficial results provided by city clerk Linda Prina, 1,023 voters rejected the recall and 985 voted for it.
Suarez had refused to step down as mayor.
On the ballot, Suarez, who’ll have his day in court this fall, defended himself.
“I ask you to permit me to clear my name,” he said. When CBS 2 tried to obtain additional comments from Suarez he gave directions to his Web site.
The ballot question was simple:
“Shall Anthony Suarez be recalled from the office of mayor?”
Voters had a choice of three replacement candidates, including a Democrat, a Republican and an independent.
Some of the candidates were looking for their opportunity to turn the state around.
“The people…have been disgraced for over a year,” said Republican candidate Warren Vincentz. “The borough has been mocked. We’ve been the laughing stock.”
“I was a longtime Dem,” said Albert Gil, the Independent Candidate. “I am tired of both parties having the same talk over the last ten years.”
That’s not to say they all agree with the actions taken against Suarez.
“The Democratic organization picked me to run as for mayor,” said candidate Javier Acosta. “But I am 100 percent behind Mayor Suarez. I don’t want him recalled.”
Acosta added that the recall vote is cost Ridgefield between $40,000 and $50,000.
Had the voters said “yes” to the recall, the candidate with the majority of the votes would have won.