BREAKING: In heated Hoboken council election, Raia looks to drop from 3rd Ward race against Russo

HOBOKEN – To the surprise of some and the dismay of other Hudson County politicos, 3rd Ward Council candidate Frank Raia has asked for his name to be removed from the ballot for the Nov. 3 council elections, Hudson County Deputy Clerk Janet Larwa confirmed.
Raia’s reason for not longer running was not immediately available as he did not respond to phone calls by this afternoon. Raia’s attorney contacted the clerk’s office and Assignment Judge Peter Bariso will next decide if the matter is worth a hearing.
Larwa said if removed from the ballot, Raia will face a fee for the mail-in ballots – which have already been printed – in an amount likely not exceed $2,500.
When asked how Raia’s decision to no longer run will affect his campaign, 3rd Ward City Council candidate and incumbent Michael Russo — who was Raia’s only opponent in the race — said “not much.”
“The overall debate over what needs to happen in the 3rd ward will continue to happen,” he said. “The residents in the 3rd ward deserve to continue to hear what I’ve accomplished as a council member of and my vision for the future.”
Russo said he still plans to do a campaign kickoff next week, attend the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition next month and attend The Hudson Reporter’s council debates next Wednesday, Sept. 30.
“To paraphrase the mayor, sometimes there are surprise candidates and this kind of thing isn’t unusual,” Russo added.
The comment may have a bit of bite to it, since Mayor Dawn Zimmer has heavily criticized Russo in the past, leading to recent questions last month about why she had not backed a candidate to run against Russo in the 3rd Ward. Until the filing deadline, no one had filed to run against Russo. Raia filed to run at the last minute. Zimmer had slyly commented in response to questions from the Reporter recently that a “surprise” candidate might run against Russo in the end, which forecast exactly what Raia did by submitting his petitions late. But then, today, it appears he has pulled out.
So was some sort of political deal struck among candidates, officials, or supporters? And did the two candidates’ moves to run in the race keep other possible candidates out of the race? The electorate may never know, but we’ll post updates if we get an explanation from Raia in the near future.

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