Sacks and Pirone Lambros claim victory in Princeton primary election

Incumbent Princeton Councilman Tim Quinn fell short in his quest for the Democratic Party nomination to run for re-election in a three-way race that pitted him against newcomers Mia Sacks and Michelle Pirone Lambros in the June 4 political primary.

Sacks earned 1,771 votes and Pirone Lambros received 1,445 votes to run for two open seats on Princeton Council. Quinn, who is completing his first term, gathered 1,280 votes. The vote totals include those cast at the polling places and mail-in ballots, but not provisional ballots.

There are two seats open on Princeton Council – the one currently held by Quinn, and the second seat held by Princeton Council President Jenny Crumiller. She has decided not to seek another term on the council.

Princeton Democrats gathered at Conte’s Pizzeria on Witherspoon Street to wait for the results. Quinn entered the pizzeria a few minutes before the polls closed at 8 p.m. Sacks and Pirone Lambros arrived around 8:30 p.m.

Some of Pirone Lambros’ family members and supporters, wearing teal blue T-shirts that said “Progressive Democrats for Change” on the front and “Princeton Michelle Pirone Lambros Council” on the back, had gathered at a table near the front of Conte’s. Teal blue is the candidate’s favorite color.

Meanwhile, a result sheet to capture the results had been taped to the wall near the family’s table. The first results came in around 8:15 p.m. The score was up and down as the district results came in. District 10 was the last to report.

Pirone Lambros exhaled twice when it became clear that she had won the nomination for one of two seats. Sacks stood by quietly, absorbing the results, while Quinn appeared perplexed at the results.

Acknowledging the results, Quinn thanked his team, who he said had worked “very hard.”

“We were outspent 2 to 1, but we were not outworked. Congratulations to the winners. See you later,” Quinn said.

He left quickly.

State Election Law Enforcement Commission campaign finance reports through the May 24 filing period revealed that Quinn had raised $5,190.09. Sacks had raised $7,991.71, and Pirone Lambros had raised $20,528.05. The final report is due June 24.

Standing on a chair above the crowd, Pirone Lambros said she was “so overwhelmed and honored.” She said she was proud to be part of a “great team.” She thanked her husband, George Lambros, noting that “in all my ventures, he is always there to back me up.”

Pirone Lambros offered special thanks to former Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand for her support. This is the first time that the former mayor has come out in support of a candidate since she left office in 2008, Pirone Lambros said.

“There is a lot of work ahead. This is just the beginning. Thank you for your confidence in me,” she said.

Amid cheers and applause, Sacks accepted her victory and said she was “honored and humbled by the outpouring of support from every sector of the Princeton community.”

But what made it really special, Sacks revealed, is that “not many people get to accept a win across the street from their elementary school.”

Sacks grew up in Princeton and attended the Community Park School, the John Witherspoon Middle School and Princeton High School.

Sacks said she wants to keep the special connection between the people and the small town feeling, “where everyone has each other’s back.” Many crucial decisions will be made in the next few years, and her priority will be proactive planning with maximum public participation, she added.

During the primary campaign, Sacks said, she heard from many people who said they were more concerned about international and national issues, and not so concerned about local issues.

“If you don’t have the time to invest in local issues, don’t complain about it at the 11th hour. The time to get involved is now,” Sacks said.