Voters throughout Hudson County will go to the polls on Nov. 8 to elect a number of county and state officeholders. The positions up for grabs are county executive, county register, three state Senate seats, all six state Assembly seats, and all nine Board of Freeholder seats. Only two of the freeholders face competition this time around.
In addition, voters in Jersey City have a council-at-large race to contend with (see stories in the Jersey City Reporter), and in Hoboken, voters can respond to a question on changes to the city’s rent control law.
In heavily Democratic Hudson County, political races often get more heated during the June primaries, when Democrats face each other for the nomination. The winners then go on to the November race, but do not always face a challenge from the Republicans.
The election will be held Nov. 8.
DeGise, who was born and raised in Jersey City, took over as county executive after winning a special election in November 2002. One of the first pieces of legislation he introduced was to establish an Ethics Oversight Board for county government after a bribe scandal forced the resignation of his predecessor Robert Janiszewski and resulted in the conviction of two freeholders.
During his terms in office, DeGise successfully established an open space trust fund and consolidated many county offices with the purchase and opening of the County Plaza building in Jersey City.
DeLuca is also a Jersey City resident. A former naval officer and local and national attorney, he is considered an expert in international trade law, and has served on several key commissions. An adjunct professor at Pace Law School, he has also established a successful law practice in Washington, D.C. He worked with the legal team for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008, and was a member of Gov. Christopher Christie’s legal team in Jersey City in 2009. He also served as lead counsel for the Hudson County Republican Party.
The other countywide election pits Democrat Pamela Gardner against Republican Edith Jorge for office of county register for a five-year term. The duties of the Hudson County Register’s Office are recording, filing, and preserving all formal written documents affecting real property within the county.
Gardner, a learning-disabilities consultant with the Jersey City public schools, is a member of the Jersey City Housing Authority and served as an officer of the Jersey City chapter of the NAACP.
Jorge has served as commissioner of the North Bergen Housing Authority and vice chair of the Hudson County Young Republican Organization. She has served in promotions for CV Networks and interned in Gov. Christie’s Office of Press and Communications.
Two of nine freeholder seats opposed
Although all nine freeholder seats are up for reelection, there are only two seats contested – District 5, which includes Hoboken and Jersey City Heights, and District 9, which includes a large portion of Secaucus and West Hudson towns.
Incumbent Albert Cifelli is being challenged by Republican Paul H. Castelli in District 9. Both men are residents of Kearny. Cifelli has served on the freeholder board for 12 years. Castelli, a member of the Kearny Board of Education, previously ran for state Assembly in 1995.
Incumbent Anthony Romano is being challenged by independent Kurt Gardiner in District 5. Romano is a police captain with the Hoboken Police Department, a former teacher and former member of the Hoboken Board of Education. Gardiner is an IT project manager for a large insurance company in New York City, a political blogger, and a resident of Hoboken since 2006. (A story on that race ran in the Oct. 23 Hoboken Reporter. Read it at hudsonreporter.com.)
In the other districts, the unopposed candidates include: Incumbent Doreen McAndrew DiDomenico in District 1, which includes all of Bayonne; incumbents Bill O’Dea, Jeff Dublin and Eliu Rivera in various sections of Jersey City; and Tilo Rivas of Union City, Jose Munoz of West New York, and Thomas Liggio of North Bergen in their districts.
State seats up for grabs
The Nov. 8 election will see challenges for all nine seats in the three state legislative districts. Each state district has one state senator and two assemblypeople.
In the 31st District, which includes all of Bayonne and half of Jersey City, state Sen. Sandra Bolden Cunningham is being challenged by Republican Donnamaire James and independent Louis Venotico. For the Assembly, Democratic incumbents Charles Mainor and Jason O’Donnell are challenged by Republicans Michael Alonso and Daniel Beckelman.
Cunningham has been in office since 2007 and is a member of key committees that include economic growth, labor, and public schools. She has sponsored a number of bills that include fair banking practices, job creation and repatriation for former offenders.
Republican James, of Bayonne, is a member of the Bayonne Alcohol Beverage Control Board in 2010. In something of an irony, she ran for state Assembly in the 31st District in 2003 and lost to a ticket led by Sandra’s husband, the late Glenn Cunningham.
Venotico is running as an independent under the slogan Eliminate Primary Elections. He has run for state senate three times, and ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
Incumbent Democrat Mainor, a Jersey City police detective, is concluding his first term and serves on several key committees, including environment and solid waste. Incumbent Democrat O’Donnell is also completing his first term, and is a member of committees dealing with labor and financial issues, where he said he is focused on creating jobs.
Republican challenger Alonso, 29, is a real estate agent in Bayonne. He sees himself as a moderate Republican who is also interested in creating jobs and creating educational opportunities.
Beckelman, who serves as co-executive director of the Hudson County Republican Organization, says he is pro-business and is also focused on job creation.
Sacco opposed in 32nd District
In the 32nd district, Democratic state Sen. Nicholas J. Sacco is being challenged by Republican Edward T. O’Neil, and independent Herbert H. Shaw.
Sacco, who has been a state senator since 1994, also serves as North Bergen mayor and assistant superintendent of North Bergen Schools. He is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and a member of the Law and Public Safety and Veterans’ Affairs committee.
O’Neil, 58, of North Bergen, has run against the Sacco ticket in the past, for state Assembly in 2005 and 2007. Shaw is running as an independent on a ticket titled “Politicians are crooks.” An engineer by profession, Shaw has run for state assembly and for U.S. House of Representatives in the past.
The Assembly incumbents are Democrats Vincent Prieto and Angelica M. Jimenez. Prieto and Jimenez are being challenged by Republicans Ronald F. Tarolia and Michael J. Barulovich, as well as independent candidate April L. Tricoli-Busset, a former municipal clerk who sued North Bergen in 2008 for harassment. A web designer and homemaker, she running a campaign against political patronage. Also listed as an independent candidate for Assembly is Saleh Awadalla.
Incumbent Jimenez, vice president of the West New York Board of Education, is running on the Sacco ticket. A state-licensed radiology technician employed by a private firm in Jersey City, she is a founding member and vice president of the West New York Women’s Club and an elected member of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.
Vincent Prieto has been a member of the state Assembly since 2004. He is a construction code official in Secaucus and other municipalities.
Stack ticket faces Republicans in 33rd
In the 33rd District, Democratic state Sen. Brian Stack is being challenged by Republican Beth Hamburger. Democratic Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. is running for reelection with running mate Sean Connors. They are opposed by Republicans Christopher Garcia and Fernando Uribe.
Stack has served as mayor of Union City since 2000. He was a member of the state Assembly from 2004 to 2008, and is seeking his second term as state senator. He is a member of the extremely powerful Budget and Appropriations Committee and vice chair of the Judiciary Committee.
Beth Hamburger is a Hoboken resident who served an alternate delegate and blogger from the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2008. She previously ran as a Republican for the state Assembly in 2009.
Ramos is a public school teacher who has served as Hoboken councilman and council president before being elected to the state assembly in 2008. He is a member of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and vice chair of the Education Committee.
His Democratic runningmate, Sean Connors, previously ran for state Senate in 2007. Connors is a police detective in Jersey City and a member of the Jersey City school board.
Republican challenger Fernando Uribe, with a background of employment in various state agencies, hopes to bring his experience to the state Assembly. A community activist, he also served as chairman of the Hudson County Young Republicans from 2005 to 2010.
His runningmate Christopher C. Garcia is a registered nurse, but has served as a volunteer in a number of Union City sports programs, including president of the Union City Babe Ruth Baseball Association.