Four people have been certified to run for the 2nd Ward city council seat on Monday afternoon in the May municipal election, according to the city clerk’s office.
Candidates running for the seat are incumbent Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, Shahin Khalique, Eddie Gonzalez, and Aslon Goow.
The race has already turned into a tough battle for the incumbent with Khalique having spent more than $55,000 even before the field was set.
Akhtaruzzaman is the first Bangladeshi-American to sit on the council. He is expected to have a tough time with financially well-heeled Khalique who also hails from the same community.
Khalique moved into a Rossiter Avenue home from Wayne to challenge the incumbent within the past year.
Akhtaruzzaman did the same when he moved in from Totowa to oust Goow. The former three-term councilman is also looking to recapture his seat.
Akhtaruzzaman won the 2nd Ward seat in May 2012 with 1,125 votes. Goow came in second place with 653 votes. Goow then challenged the incumbent’s residency in court. A judge ruled in the three-term councilman’s favor resulting in a special election in November 2012.
Akhtaruzzaman eked out a marginal victory in that election with 1,459 votes. Sonia Torres came in second with 1,423 ballots while Goow came in third place with 1,332 votes.
Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres is expected to remain neutral in the 2nd Ward race; however, this has not hindered many of his key people from working at the various campaigns.
For example, one of Torres’ key supporters in the 2014 mayoral election Pedro Rodriguez, is working as Akhtaruzzaman’s campaign manager.
Torres’ people are also working at the Gonzalez and Khalique campaigns.