Independents struggle to compete; Republican Club makes in-kind contributions to GOP Candidate Committee!

The campaign to succeed the late Joe Bianchi continues as three of the four candidates have had fundraising activities in terms of donations in excess of $300, in-kind contributions and the normal expenditures one would see in the initial efforts of a local municipal campaign.

Councilman Mark Yampaglia is the Democratic nominee for mayor and his running-mates are former mayor and BCUA Commissioner Peter Massa and retired CFO Josie Papile.

All three are life-long residents with Yampaglia and Papile graduates of NAHS while Massa is an alumnus of Queen of Peace High School.

All three are married and all three are college graduates while Yampaglia and Massa have earned advanced degrees.

Yampaglia is running for public office for the eighth time. Massa is seeking office for the eighth time as well while Papile is making her first bid for the borough council.

As of this writing, the Republican nominee has yet to be determined with the passing of Mayor Bianchi. The two Republican council candidates are incumbents Brian Fitzhenry, a former two-term school trustee and unsuccessful candidate for state senate and freeholder. His running-mate is Acting Mayor Allison Sheedy.

Former Democratic Councilman Al Granell is running as an independent with no running-mates along with Lillian Saldanha, the first woman to run for mayor. She also has no running-mates for borough council.

Granell was elected in 2006 and easily defeated for reelection in 2009. He ran again in 2010 on a ticket with Massa seeking reelection and lost again. In 2012 he was elected only to be defeated in 2015 for reelection coming in last.

This is Granell’s sixth try for public office.

According to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, the Committee to Elect Yampaglia, Massa and Papile had disbursements of $10,096.94 and deposits of $12,250.00.

The following were contributors over $300:

· Joseph Muniz – $1000

· Emil Yampaglia – $1000

· International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) – $1000

· Neglia Engineering – $600

· Pascrell for Congress – $1000

· Calabrese for Assembly – $1000

· District 36 Democratic Club – $1500

Democrats spent their resources on several items (partial list):

· $1168 for catering and fundraising

· $680 for printing

· $261 for tee-shirts

· $1876 for lawn signs

· $2500 for Voter Contact and canvassing services

$6,304.40 was transferred from a previous campaign account and the Democrats had a closing balance of $8,457.46.

Local Republicans have financed their campaign for the most part through the North Arlington Republican Club whose treasurer is Benjamin Inzinna. The Candidate Committee treasurer is Cheryl Clune.

The following items were purchased as in-kind contributions from the NA Republican Club to the GOP Candidate Committee (partial list):

· $1584.45 for pens

· $3063.00 for lawn signs

· $1824.93 for brochures

Currently the GOP Candidate Committee of Bianchi, Sheedy and Fitzhenry had just $100.

The NA Republican Club had a closing balance of $12,464.31.

Contributors in the last reporting cycle in excess of $300 to the Republican Club were the following:

· Keane Electric – $500

· Woodcrest Properties – $400

· William Clayton (Clayton Block) – $2000

The Granell campaign has been mostly funded by the candidate himself or $1,042.85 in in-kind contributions for lawn signs ($441.63) and campaign advertising ($202.73).

His campaign had a closing balance of $43.13 and his treasurer is his wife, former school trustee Sharon Granell.

As of this writing candidate Lillian Saldanha had no money raised according to NJ ELEC.

“These numbers are pretty much in line with what local candidates raise and what they invest in terms of expenditures. There’s nothing really unusual here. The two major party candidates have a political base and the ability to raise funds while the two independents to date are struggling for financial support.” offered one veteran of local campaigns when asked to comment.

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