After Bribery Charge, 3 Perth Amboy, NJ, City Council Candidates Urged to Drop Out
The mayor of Perth Amboy has urged a city councilman running for re-election to drop out of the race along with both of his running mates after one of their campaign workers was charged with bribery.
None of the candidates were charged with a crime.
Campaign worker Ana Camilo was arrested after filling out a mail-in ballot for an undercover agent posing as a local voter and then handing them a ShopRite gift card, in exchange.
Camilo is a 62-year-old staffer for candidate Jeanette Rios, who has been running with incumbent Councilman Joel Pabon and current Perth Amboy Board of Education member Junior Iglesias for three seats on the council.
Before the bribery charge was announced, Mayor Helmin Caba had already endorsed another ticket led by incumbent Councilwoman Milady Tejada. Caba is chairman of the Perth Amboy Democratic Organization.
“The Pabon-Rios-Iglesias campaign must immediately suspend its operations, because this is the only way to ensure that this election will be conducted free of voter fraud and that the people of Perth Amboy will be able to have their voices heard without illegal coercion or intimidation,” Caba said in a post on his Facebook page.
"There is no place for this kind of voter fraud in Perth Amboy, so I thank the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office for exposing this illegal behavior and holding the Pabon-Rios-Iglesias campaign accountable for breaking the law, and I encourage anyone who knows of any other credible incidents of voter fraud to come forward and contact law enforcement."
Perth Amboy has seen repeated allegations of election fraud in years past.
In 2015, a Middlesex County Superior Court judge ordered a new election for one seat on Perth Amboy's city council after finding that there had been voter fraud in the handling of some mail-in ballots in November 2014.
Several incidents in 2020 were sent to the state Attorney General’s Office for possible review, also stemming from issues surrounding mail-in ballots, the New Jersey Globe reported.