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City councilman defeats scandal-plagued incumbent Healy in Jersey City mayoral election


Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is shown in this 2011 file photo. (AP)

City Councilman Steven Fulop has been elected mayor of New Jersey's second-largest city, defeating the incumbent Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.

The Jersey Journal reports Healy conceded the election to Fulop Tuesday night as unofficial election returns showed Fulop with 52.1 percent of the vote, or 14,675 votes, and Healy with 38.6 percent, or 10,860 votes.

"Whatever the new mayor needs for me, I stand ready, willing and hopefully able to help him out," Healy said according to the Wall Street Journal. "I'm going to turn a page and move on."

Healy, who has served as mayor since 2004, drew criticism earlier this week when he apparently changed his story on a nude photo scandal that emerged during his 2004 campaign.

Healy was photographed naked on his front porch right before an election. Pressed to explain at the time, he chalked up the incident to a bad night of drinking.

However, Healy gave a fresh, and notably more bizarre, account in an interview with the Star-Ledger on May 11. He claimed he had actually been drawn outside that night by a group of noisy Hispanic girls -- who proceeded to rip off the towel he was wearing and do "filthy" things.

The modified version opened Healy, who was endorsed by President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, up to a new round of criticism from his political rivals in advance of the election.

Fulop blasted the new account as "another embarrassment" from Healy. The 36-year-old former Marine is a Goldman Sachs employee who has served on the city council since 2005. 

At a victory party Tuesday night, Fulop thanked his supporters for "believing in a better Jersey City."

"We will work tirelessly to make sure that those of you who put your faith in us, we will make you proud," Fulop said according to the Wall Street Journal. 

In the interview with the Star-Ledger, Healy said he was woken up that night by women banging trash cans outside. He wrapped himself in a towel and went outside, to find "three Hispanic girls, young kids."

"So I go out on the porch and they pulled the towel off me," he said. "Now I start laughing, and then they started doing other stuff. I said, 'I'm old enough to be your grandfather.'"

Healy said "it was filthy" and he "chased them away." When he sat down, Healy says he was photographed by a political enemy.

That's not exactly the account Healy gave in 2004. A New York Times article on the incident said he claimed he'd had six to eight beers that night and wasn't quite sure how he got on the porch. "I wish I recall how I got back out there," he said at the time. "But I don't."

The Jersey Journal reported that a spokeswoman originally said he was responding to a commotion -- but no mention of Hispanic women doing "stuff."

Healy's had his share of public controversies. After he was elected mayor, he got into a highly publicized scuffle in 2006 with police officers outside a Bradley Beach bar owned by his sister. He was arrested and later fined for the incident.

Healy, in his campaign, has touted his crackdown on crime in Jersey City, as well as his pro-gun control stances. Healy is a founding member of Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns group. 

Two other candidates in the race were Jerry Walker and Abdul Malik.

The Associated Press contributed to this report