Too close for comfort

6/14/09

For those supporting Peter Cammarano for mayor, the game plan worked. The strategy all along was to keep the machine vote close in the Hoboken runoff election, then make up the difference with absentee ballots.
Of course, Cammarano people would have been thrilled if he had won on the machines. But with Dawn Zimmer’s high-tech campaign that included using Twitter to bring in commuter votes, Cammarano’s chances of winning on the machine vote were slim.
It is clear from the results that many people bullet-voted for Cammarano (in other words, for him but not for his council slate). Critics claim he abandoned his running mates, but in truth, two of them were really candidates from the Beth Mason ticket.
Vincent Addeo and Raul Morales would have been better off running as independents, drawing on Mason’s backing. Their siding with Cammarano forced Mason to avoid giving them financial support or workers to run against Zimmer’s people. Mason had publicly endorsed them, but also endorsed Zimmer.
Zimmer’s strength was the fact that she went into the runoff election with her original slate of three council candidates.
If the results of the election in Hoboken withstand all future challenges, the council will be at odds with the mayor on a lot of future issues, with Mason and Councilman Michael Russo becoming pivotal votes.
Since Cammarano won the 3rd and 4th wards, it is clear that Russo came out for him in the runoff. But Cammarano can’t rely on Russo support in the future.
Although many people claimed this election was unlike other elections, avoiding the traditional conflict between “Old Hoboken” (long-time residents) and “New Hoboken” (newcomers), the runoff election and general election showed the opposite was true. Some observers believed that Mason, who was seen as the front runner in the May 12 election, lost that round because she abandoned her base of New Hoboken by picking a slate with perceived connections to Old Hoboken instead of balancing it out.
Zimmer clearly drew on her strengths and got the New Hoboken vote out in the runoff. But Cammarano – with the aid of Russo and former Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons – drew strength from Old Hoboken, even though Cammarano has ties to New Hoboken.
With the vote margin so close, a question remained in the middle of last week: would Zimmer challenge the absentee ballots or other votes with the hope of eroding Cammarano’s lead?
A running joke in Hoboken is that the real winner of a protracted legal action would be outgoing Mayor Dave Roberts, who might get a few extra months in office as the courts haggle over the winner of this election.
If Zimmer wins, two political people from Secaucus will claim the credit for giving her the idea. These two apparently joked with Zimmer about her running for mayor during the League of Municipalities conference last year. A few weeks later, Zimmer allegedly called them back to ask them if they really believed she could win.

War against Cunningham to commence

State Sen. Sandra Cunningham may have made a serious mistake in blocking the appointment of County Executive Tom DeGise to the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“There will be war in 2011,” said one DeGise supporter.
DeGise had the support of 12 Hudson County mayors, the three Hudson County members of the House of Representatives, and two U.S. Senators, and yet it was not enough to get past Cunningham’s senatorial courtesy. While Cunningham is looking to get either Father Francis Schiller (a Jersey City developer) or Karen DeSoto (a Jersey City attorney) named to the post, in truth, the real beneficiary will likely be Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, who is being promoted by State Sen. Ray Lesniak.
By having Cunningham block DeGise’s nomination, Lesniak gets to pick the person instead.
DeGise supporters claim Cunningham’s move means they will seek to unseat her as state senator in the 2011 primary.
Several people claim her opposition to DeGise was extremely unwise.
“She could have been state senator as long as she wanted,” one source said. “Now she’ll likely be a one-term senator and then fade away.”

Sires for lt. governor?

Will Rep. Albio Sires become the first lieutenant governor in the state of New Jersey?
It appears that Sires would get support from the diverse political factions in Hudson County if he decided to do it.
New Jersey voters will get to pick a lieutenant governor for the first time this year.
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy would likely favor the move because it would free up the House of Representatives seat in order that a Jersey City person might get it.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker would likely back the move as well, because Sires is unlikely to use it as a springboard for a run for governor, and would not challenge Booker, who apparently wants to seek the seat himself.
Southern New Jersey Political Boss George Norcross would also likely support Sires since Norcross was instrumental in getting Sires named as Assembly Speaker in 2001 despite a move to have then-Assemblyman Joseph Doria get the seat.

Who will run against Smith for mayor?

Even though the mayoral election in Bayonne is just shy of a year away, several groups have approached Bayonne Councilman Gary La Pelusa as a possible candidate.
“I don’t know if I will do it,” La Pelusa said. “Financing is an issue.”
Currently the 3rd Ward councilman, La Pelusa would have to run for mayor or for reelection as councilman next May.
Mayor Mark Smith won a special election last November to fill the unexpired term of Doria, who resigned in 2007 to become commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. The regularly scheduled election is slated for May 2010.
Bayonne also faces a special election this November to fill the unexpired term of Anthony Chiappone, who resigned in April. His seat is currently occupied by Terrence Ruane, who has already indicated he will run in November and again next May for the at-large seat.