There are many dimensions to the campaign for mayor in Roselle—with a dark money PAC directed by Senator Joe Cryan that is disparaging his 2021 opponent, Jamel Holley, as he seeks to return to the job he had in 2012, and evidence surfacing to show that the incumbent covered up a criminal record that landed him at Riker’s Island after pleading guilty to felony charges of selling heroin in New York City—but some voters are making decisions for purely personal reasons, like being slighted by one of the candidates.
“I lost mad respect for Donald Shaw,” said Roselle resident Margaret Irwin, whose 61-year-old mother was the victim of a hit and run involving a maroon or burgundy colored 2005-2007 Ford Escape or Explorer.
Irwin’s mother, Margaret Irwin-Montemayor, was a pedestrian struck by the vehicle on January 13, 2022, at about 6:45 a.m. near the intersection of West First Avenue and Chestnut Street.
At the time, the victim needed surgery for her back and the family was concerned that she might be paralyzed for the rest of her life.
“My mom has done a lot in the past to help with his events and whatnot but not once did he bother to show any kind of support to my mom when she was hit by a van in the borough,” said Irwin. “There was nothing but silence from him, so because of that he gets zero support from me.”
“I’m sick of his literature being filled in my mailbox and his phone calls asking for votes,” said Irwin.
“When my mom was injured, and even before then, Jamel has been there for my grandma, God rest her soul,” said Irwin. “He is always out and involved in the community. Anything you need, he tries to support and do. When it comes time for doing what’s best for Roselle’s interests you have to see the people out in the community. Actions speak loud.”
The political establishment has imported campaign workers from Hudson County, engineered an ‘independent expenditure’ campaign that has illegally coordinated with Shaw while spending nearly $200,000, and even lodged a desperate, unfounded lawsuit aimed at crippling Holley’s campaign in the closing days of the race, all to help Shaw pull off a victory in spite of his criminal record, wasteful spending and failures as mayor.
The difference between victory and defeat rests on voter turnout but it is unclear if those offended by Shaw and his Column A buddies have the energy to bring out enough people to turn the tide.
Holley could not muster sufficient strength to defeat Cryan two years ago, but the mayoral contest is expected to be much closer.