Armando Fontoura has won an eighth term as Essex County Sheriff.
Preliminary results show the incumbent ahead of Republican challenger Orlando Mendez.
With 91 percent of the vote counted as of 11 p.m., Fontoura, of Fairfield, was winning handily with 167,164 votes, while Mendez trailed with 40,762 votes according to Essex County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin's website.
Fontoura, 69, has served as the Essex County Sheriff since 1990, but he has been involved in the county’s police force long before that.
Fontoura began as Newark police officer in 1967, and eventually rose through the ranks to become a captain and then chief assistant to the police director. In 1986, he became an Essex County Undersheriff, where he served until he was appointed sheriff in 1990.
Mendez, 43, of Newark’s North Ward, worked in the Essex County Corrections Department for about 20 years. On Tuesday, Mendez went head to head with Fontoura for the sheriff’s position for the fourth time.
In 2009, Fontoura beat Mendez for the sheriff’s position by garnering more than 75 percent of the vote.
Fontoura carried endorsements from the Essex County Police Chiefs Association and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. going into the race.
In June, Fontoura handily won the Democratic primary by more than 70 percent of the vote over John Arnold Jr., a retired captain at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Mendez ran unopposed in June’s primary for his party’s nomination.