Yet the election was about a vision for Bayonne, said Mayor Joseph Doria in his comments after the polls showed he had achieved a 1,000 vote majority over his challenger, retired municipal judge, Patrick Conaghan.
Doria received 7, 976 votes Conaghan's 6, 995.
Doria's claim of victory came within a half hour of the polls closing on June 13 as the gap widened between Doria and Conaghan despite a close initial tally in many of the voting districts.
Conaghan campaign workers at the Broadway headquarters watched as the election slowly slipped out of their grasp, knowing even before the final tally that they could not make up the growing margin with the remaining uncounted districts.
A short time before Doria's victory speech at the Catholic Wars Veterans center on 23 rd Street celebrated the united efforts of his team, kids hired to help with the campaign taunted Conaghan supporters on Broadway with chants for Doria, making the misery worse for those who had lost.
Ironically, Doria during his speech took credit for bringing "the next generation" of young people into the political process.
Election night was also marred by charges against Councilman Anthony Chiappone - a Conaghan supporter - for allegedly taking down Doria election signs.
Campaign vandalism marred this election several times during the lead up to the initial mayoral election on May 9 when all races but the mayoral race was resolved.
Although final figures on campaign spending have yet to be totaled, most believe this was among the most expensive in the city's history, and among the most negative in content as both sides attempted to cast the other candidate in a bad light.
The May 9 and the June 13 run off election have finally determined the makeup of city government over the next four years.
Although the Doria Team held onto control of the city council, the overwhelming reelection of Chiappone on May 9 and the election of new comer independent Gary LaPelusa in the third ward, changes the make up slightly and promises for contentious council debates over controversial issues.
Although LaPelusa endorsed Conaghan for mayor, he congratulated Doria for the victory and promised to work hard as a councilman to make government work.
"I have proven I can work with anyone to get things done," he said.
"We can disagree, and we did disagree in this election, but we must all come together," Doria said in an offering of peace to his opponents. "We must work together for the benefit of our community and our children. This is for all the supporters of Pat Conaghan and to Pat Conaghan, let us work together. Let us look to the future to make Bayonne the kind of community we're all proud of."
In supporting Conaghan, Chiappone said he had hoped a new mayor would appoint him to the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority where he might have a more direct say in how the former Military Ocean Terminal would be developed.
But Chiappone said Conaghan's loss does not significantly alter is approach to government.
"I've always been a watch dog over government during my years on the council," he said. "This means I will continue in the role, looking out for the interests of the tax payers."
Chiappone said that many of the issues debated during the campaign will continue to be part of his agenda for the future including what he considers a troublesome increasing level of debt due to bonding, what he sees as lack of proper management in regards to city operating expenses, and concerns over increasing residential development especially on the MOTBY.
"I will continue to raise questions when I think we are moving in the wrong direction and I will do my best to convince people to change their minds," he said.
First Ward Councilman Ted Connolly in winning his second election he learned some lessons, such as not taking anything for granted, and the need to continue to work hard.
Connolly, running on the Doria ticket, beat Melba Walsh on May 9, and is seen as the deciding vote in who will become the next council president during the reorganization meeting on July 1.
Supporters for Chiappone have reached out asking for Connolly's vote, a matter that may become a big issue in the future as the council faces more development and other issues concerned with growth.
The current Council President, Vincent Lo Re, is expected to retain the presidency, after his election as an at-large councilman in the May 9 election.
Although one of the three longest serving councilmen in Bayonne history, Lo Re ran city wide for the first time on May 9, and avoided a run off election when Chiappone carried more than the necessary 25 percent of the total vote.
Lo Re said he is looking forward to the next four years and the expected achievements. While Lo Re said the public was concerned with taxes, he said fear of a proposed container port development at the MOBTY seemed to generate support for Doria.
"Taxes are stable. We have not seen an increase in municipal taxes in the last six quarters," he said. "We got the message on taxes."
Parks, street paving, development of vacant land are all things that will allow Bayonne to prosper.
"Our best days are still ahead of us," he said. "Bayonne is ideally situation along the Gold Coast. We have a cruise port and a plan for development. Those things bode well for the future."
Second Ward Councilman John Hallecky - who shares the title as longest serving councilman with Lo Re, agrees that the Doria reelection bodes well for the future of Bayonne, and said that he looks forward to his own role in helping Bayonne transform.
He contributed his own reelection on May 9 to his running a positive campaign, sticking to the issues and to his wide range of civic involvement.
"People know me, from the store and from my being involved," he said.
In looking to the future, he said the Town Center Management Corporation will play a big role in shaping the future of Bayonne's shopping district, as will the extension of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Line to 8th Street.
"When the light rail is done, we can do away with zone parking and have a city wide residential parking program instead," he said.
Like Lo Re, Hallecky sees the future of Bayonne's economy coming out of the MOTBY, and dismisses fears over debt.
"One section - Harbor Station - will generate for the city $170 million when we sell it," he said. "That will pay for the debt from bonding and give us $70 million besides."