Newark’s low voter turnout this year allowed three other Essex County cities with majorities of color — East Orange, Irvington and Orange — to eclipse the state’s largest city in the 2022 midterm elections.

In East Orange, where Democratic Party Chairman/Essex County Democratic Party Chairman Leroy Jones Jr. is also the Democratic municipal chairman, voter turnout was 23% despite no real contest on the ballot. Turnout in Irvington was 21%, and in Orange, 22% of voters went to the polls this fall.

Turnout in Newark was 16%.

Newark’s population is about 4 1/2 times that of East Orange, five times that of Irvington, and has nine times as many residents as Orange.

While the combined electorate of the three smaller cities is about 42% of Newark’s total electorate, East Orange, Irvington and Orange cast just 1,000 fewer votes in this year’s congressional and county executive races.

Newark cast 22,234 votes for Democratic congressional candidates and 21,601 for DiVincenzo.

East Orange had 9,953 votes for Rep. Donald Payne (R-Newark) and 9,477 votes for Essex County Supervisor Joseph DiVincenzo. Payne carried East Orange by nearly 93 percentage points, 95.4% to 2.6%, against Republican David Pinckney. DiVincenzo at 95.8% in East Orange, 9,477 votes.

Irvington cast 6,592 votes for Payne and 9,477 for DiVincenzo, while Irvington cast 6,592 votes for Payne and 6,517 for DiVincenzo. In Orange, Payne received 3,936 votes to DiVincenzo’s 3,696. In the 28th District special election, state Sen. Renee Burgess (D-Irvington) received 6,483 votes in Irvington, where she served as council president before succeeding Ronald in September Rice (D-Newark).

None of the three cities held municipal or school board elections this month.

Newark has struggled for voter turnout in the last two general elections, something like that could affect Mayor Russ Baraka’s Democratic gubernatorial bid in 2025 – although Larry Hamm, Barack’s adviser, suggests the opposite.

Last year, Gov. Phil Murphy received 28,820 votes from Newark and 23,051 from East Orange, Irvington and Orange. While the three cities account for 42% of the size of Newark’s electorate, they provided 80% of Newark’s vote.

The large turnout allowed three suburban towns – Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange cast almost as many votes for DiVincenzo and Democratic congressional candidates.

East Orange is the state’s 17th largest city and a Democratic stronghold; it has been 61 years since Richard Nixon ran against John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. In 2020, Murphy won 96% of the vote in East Orange to Joe Biden’s 95%.

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