Five people have turned in the necessary number of petitions to run for the city’s highest office.
Incumbent Andre Sayegh, council members Alex Mendez, Michael Jackson, Luis Velez, and former councilman Aslon Goow.
A sixth candidate, former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres, had his petitions rejected by the City Clerk at the direction of Sayegh’s law director Aymen Aboushi, on Friday. Torres has confirmed he has filed in court to get himself on the ballot.
Sayegh, Mendez, Jackson, and Velez have been certified. Goow said he expects to be certified soon.
Goow submitted more than 1,200 petitions, he said.
All four men have criticized Sayegh for his performance.
“Public opinion on him is not pleasant,” said Goow speaking of Sayegh. He said Sayegh in desperation is conducting outreach with the African American community and handing out citations to municipal employees. “He’s scrambling at the last minute.”
Goow is likely to takeaway a big chunk of Sayegh’s votes in the 6th and 2nd Wards.
“The city is in deep distress for help, and I think I can make that difference,” said Velez. He said he will focus on police response, improving quality of life, and boosting employee morale.
Jackson previously ran four years ago. He finished second to last. He’s hoping this time will be different.
“I’m the best candidate for the city’s best interest,” said Jackson. “Hopefully, the public will agree.”
Jackson has been Sayegh’s biggest critic on the City Council. He has slammed the incumbent just about every Tuesday night.
“It’s time for this mayor to get out of the bubble. When he’s talking about Paterson, you’d think he’s talking about Hollywood. He hasn’t been able to accomplish anything in the last four years,” said Mendez.
Mendez said crime is highest it’s been in three decades, streets are filthy, taxes have gone up, and sewer fees are hurting residents. He blames it all on Sayegh.
“People can’t wait for May 10. People on the street are saying this guy is the worst mayor in the history of this city,” said Mendez.
Sayegh could not be reached for comment late Monday afternoon.
Both Mendez and Jackson are under indictment related to the 2020 election. Both men are accused of voter fraud.
Jackson said voters will see through the “bogus indictment.”
“That’s what Andre is counting on, but people already know he was behind all of this,” said Mendez.
Mendez said he was elected by the residents of 3rd Ward in November with this case hanging over his head.
“We broke a record. In 48 hours, we got all our petitions. He as the mayor took a month to get it,” said Mendez.
Indeed, Mendez was the first candidate to be certified in the race.
“He burned down the city and he’s going to rebuild it two months before the election,” said Goow referring to Sayegh’s state of the city address where the incumbent said Paterson will rise from the ashes of the pandemic.