Former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres put his support behind councilman Alex Mendez in the Paterson mayoral election on Sunday night.
Torres’ backing is a significant endorsement for Mendez as he seeks to consolidate the Latino vote behind him. Latinos are the biggest block of voters in Paterson.
“Torres! Torres! Torres!” chanted the crowd as the former three-term mayor walked up to accept a business recognition award from Mendez on behalf of his brother Sammy Torres.
“Alex is fighting for your rights,” said Torres. “I want to help you help Alex fight for your rights.”
Torres criticized incumbent mayor Andre Sayegh for skyrocketing crime. He also accused Sayegh of misspending millions in federal Covid-19 funding. He told the crowd of 150 people at the Brownstone that Mendez will rebuild the police force and make residents feel safe walking into and out of local businesses.
Torres urged people at the event to call ten other people to bring change to City Hall on May 10.
“This mayor ran a few years ago on One Paterson. Now, I know why he ran for One Paterson. It’s only for one person and for special interest,” said Torres slamming Sayegh.
Torres tried to run for mayor, but was blocked due to his conviction. He was convicted for corruption in 2017. His attempt to run for mayor again led to the New Jersey Attorney General filing contempt charges against him for violation of his plea agreement.
“We have a small group of people squeezing this community and we’re all suffering,” said Mendez referring to the special interest that allegedly exercises influence over Sayegh. “There’s no safety in our community. This administration has been misspending money. That’s going to stop on May 10.”