New West New York mayor sworn in, despite incumbent refusing to concede

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The city of West New York swore in a new mayor Tuesday, despite the previous mayor filing a lawsuit demanding a recount.

The West New York City Council erupted in cheers after newly elected Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez took the oath of office, one week after ousting two-term incumbent Felix Roque in a contentious election.

“To be able to take this oath, to continue serving this community and now in this new capacity as mayor, is a complete honor,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, 40, ran alongside Roque in the election four years ago. But since then, Rodriguez and the Hudson County Democratic Party turned against Roque, mounting an effort that drove the former mayor out of office by a decisive margin.

RELATED: West New York Mayor Felix Roque refuses to concede following election 
RELATED: Rodriguez defeats incumbent West New York Mayor Roque 

Rodriguez campaigned on bringing positive change to West New York.

“A message of availability, partnership with this community and working towards making West New York a better town, a better community, because they deserve it,” he said.

Roque did not attend the swearing-in and hasn’t been seen much since the election. But he did file a petition for a recount. He claims that a mistake was made in the counting of the votes – a mistake sufficient enough to affect the outcome of the election. He would have to find proof that nearly 900 fraudulent votes were miscounted. He has so far not offered any evidence to support his claim.

“Those are his issues…We have no concern with occupying our minds or our work with his motion or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “We want to dedicate our time and our energy to working for these people. They elected us to do so and that's what we want to do.”

A Hudson County judge could hear arguments for and against a recount in West New York by the end of this week. A hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

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