Jersey City election will be a horse race

No-name candidates aren’t really “no name,” according to supporters of Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop, responding to last week’s column. Fulop appears to be trying to expand his appeal to voters without risking the loss of his base in Ward E. This is a risky proposition, since at some point he may have to reach out to candidates who are not totally aligned with his philosophy or who don’t have the approval of those who elected him to the City Council.
In reaching out to other sections of the city, he appears to be trying to avoid taking on people who are considered old hacks or who have had too many ties to the old guard.
Unfortunately for Fulop, some of these people have the ear of their communities, such as Councilwoman Nidia Lopez, who has won the respect of many people who formerly opposed her. To run a candidate against her risks alienating a group of voters Fulop may need to win as mayor.
At this point, it appears that Jersey City may be a race between Fulop and Mayor Jerramiah Healy, and perhaps an African-American candidate who some believe might be Assemblyman Charles Mainor. Rumors also report that former mayor and state Senator L. Harvey Smith may be looking to return to the City Council, perhaps in a Ward A race. But on whose ticket?
While everybody is courting Assemblyman Sean Connors as a possible council candidate, one source suggests that Connors may replace Healy as the mayoral candidate against Fulop – perhaps edging out outgoing Councilman Bill Gaughan, who rumors indicate might covet Connor’s seat in the Assembly.
But sources close to Connors say he’s not interested in leaving the Assembly at this time, although he has to walk a fine line between his interests and keeping all the political parties happy. And the whole idea behind pushing Connors for mayor may have originated with Healy people looking for another horse to ride in order to keep from being swept out of municipal jobs if Fulop wins.

Will Mason run for the state Assembly?

This also poses some interesting issues for Hoboken, where Assemblyman Ruben Ramos is likely seeking to challenge Mayor Dawn Zimmer in next May’s municipal election. Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason is reportedly considering a run for the Assembly. The problem is that she would seek Ramos’ seat. One of the two Assembly seats in state Sen. Brian Stack’s district would have to go to a Latino. If Mason was to replace Ramos, then the Jersey City seat currently occupied by Connors would have to go to a Latino instead. If all this sounds to you like an elaborate game of musical chairs, you’re right.
While practically everybody says they are running for mayor in Hoboken to challenge Zimmer, the opposition will have to settle on someone – if not Ramos, then Frank Raia or some unnamed candidate. One report suggests that a compromise candidate might be Freeholder Anthony Romano, a real dark horse, but someone without a lot of the political baggage other candidates currently carry.

Party time for Hudson Republicans

Two local Republicans will be going as alternative delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Aug. 27, part of a group of about 50 delegates statewide that will set the agenda for the November election and help build the platform that Mitt Romney and his as-yet to be selected vice presidential candidate will run on.
Hudson County Republican Chairman Jose Arango will be among those who will represent Hudson County, serving as alternate delegate for Gov. Christopher Christie and former Gov. Tom Kean Sr.
Arango said Republicans will gear up in Hudson County for the November election just after Labor Day, hoping to siphon off enough votes from the Democrats in Hudson County so that New Jersey will swing to Romney, and possibly allow State Sen. Joe Kyrillos to beat U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.
“Menendez needs to come out of Hudson County with an 80,000 vote majority,” Arango said. “If Kyrillos gets 20,000, then Menendez needs 100,000 votes. My job is to try and get Kyrillos 35,000 votes so he can win in the rest of the state.”
Romney, however, will likely do better in Hudson County than Kyrillos will, Arango said, partly because many of the Cuban American areas of the county are likely to vote against President Barack Obama, but stay loyal to Menendez.
“Bayonne usually goes Republican for president,” Arango said, noting that there is a strong Republican presence in Hoboken, Jersey City, West New York, North Bergen, Kearny and Bayonne.
“There are members of the Tea Party who think the rest of us are too liberal, but they will vote Republican,” Arango said.
Arango believes that former Bayonne Councilwoman Maria Karczewski, who is running against Democratic Rep. Albio Sires, will bring together many of the Republicans and pose a strong challenge against Sires in November.

New prosecutor might come from Union City?

Meanwhile North Bergen’s Municipal Prosecutor Julio Morejon, who is a resident of Union City, is looking to replace Ed DeFazio as county prosecutor. Although DeFazio does not want to give up the position, he has been nominated to the Superior Court by Republican Gov. Christie. DeFazio’s second five-year term expires this month, and typically the governor selects the new prosecutor. This also has to be reviewed by a Senate committee, of which Union City Mayor and State Senator Brian Stack is a member.
A profile of Morejon is in this weekend’s Union City Reporter and West New York Reporter.

Is Stack provoking Sacco?

Several bills introduced in the state Senate by Stack have people thinking that this may be another way to get at his neighbor, state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco.
Bills on accumulated sick time and other issues seem to be aimed at Sacco as if Stack is deliberately picking a fight.
Stack once believed that legislation introduced by Sacco and then State Sen. Bernard Kenny to limit public officials to one elected position was a move designed to prevent Stack from seeking a seat on state Senate. This motivated him to run sooner than he might have and eventually forced Kenny to retire.

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