Although Doria led in the four-way race with 5,721 votes, this amounted to about 43.9 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff with Conaghan, who came in second with 4,146 votes.
Vincent Militello came in third with 2,721 votes, and Leonard Kantor was fourth with 421.
While Doria spoke before a packed house of cheering supporters at the Catholic War Veterans' Post on 23rd Street, his voice sounded weak with the strain of five weeks of hard campaigning, and his tone was less jubilant than defiant, calling on his supporters to maintain their effort for the runoff election.
"This is not over yet!" he said, his strained voice amplified by a public address system but still struggling to rise above the cheers and chants. "We have to stick together."
Conaghan, speaking before elated followers at his Broadway headquarters, said, "We did pretty good in our first five weeks against a guy who has been in office more than 25 years as mayor and assemblyman. We're going to regroup, reorganize for the next five weeks, and we're going to work hard and knock him off on June 13."
While Doria's headquarters was defiant, and Conahgan's victorious, Militello's headquarters was somber as campaign workers gathered the vote count.
Militello, however, refused to bow his head, saying, "It was a great race. But the people spoke," he said, although he said the low voter turnout testified to dissatisfaction with the current government. "People are fighting overseas for our right to vote. Some people chose not to use it."
Militello said he had a great team of candidates and good workers.
"We'll be heard from again," he said.
Doria administration loses a seat on the council
While Doria's team won three council races: incumbents Vincent Lo Re in the at-large race, and 1st Ward Councilman Ted Connolly and 2nd Ward Councilman John Halecky, incumbent Council Member Maria Karczweski lost her bid for re-election to an at-large seat when incumbent Councilman Anthony Chiappone won his seat with a better than 50 percent of the vote carrying in Lo Re, who garnered the second highest vote count in the at-large races.
Although Doria said, "No matter what, we control the council," his team, however, lost a critical council seat in the 3rd Ward when the victory of Gary LaPelusa with 2,001 votes outpaced Doria Team candidate Michael Pierson at 1,277 and Militello-backed Washington Flores at 599.
"We did it by climbing every stair in the 3rd Ward," LaPelusa said. "We're going to work hard to prove to the residents of the 3rd Ward how good a job I'm going to do."
Although Doria people claim they can work with LaPelusa on the council, Chiappone said the victory takes away the Doria lock on the city council in which Chiappone was sometimes outvoted four to one.
"This gives me a second vote on the council on some issues," Chiappone boasted. "This means we can stop the budget."
In Bayonne, a budget vote requires four out of five votes.
"This is a drastic change on the makeup of the council," Chiappone said, celebrating his victory at Conaghan's Broadway headquarters along with LaPelusa and a few Militello supporters.
Chiappone said for years he has been a lone voice on the council, and believes that voters returned him to office to continue to raise questions as a watchdog for issues.
Connolly, who defeated Melba Walsh in the 1st Ward 2,267 to 1,836, was jubilant, but told Doria supporters not to let up until Doria wins the runoff.
"Nobody take vacations. We still need your help," he shouted, thrusting his fist into the air.
Halecky beat back two challengers and narrowly avoided a runoff as he tallied 1,635 votes compared to his challengers Jack Butchko who received 890 and Robert Mays with 624.
"Captain Jack is back for a fifth time!" he told the cheering crowd of Doria supporters. With their victories, Halecky and Lo Re have now matched the longest terms on city council.