“This isn’t my victory; it’s everybody’s,” said Nicholas Chiaravalloti after he and Angela McKnight won seats to the state Assembly from the 31st district on Nov. 3. He said to him the victory means an end to conflict and greater cooperation among the members of the 31st district delegation to Trenton.
“We had a lot of support from most of the City Council from Bayonne and most of the City Council in Jersey City” Chiaravalloti told his supporters celebrating the victory at the Villa Maria on election night.
While McKnight was caught up at another event in Jersey City, the celebration featured a number of prominent local officials including County Executive Tom DeGise, who won reelection at the top of the Democratic ticket.
Chiaravalloti and McKnight overwhelmed independent candidates Anthony Zanowic and Alejandro Rodriguez and GOP opponents Matthew Kopko and Herminio Mendoza after a campaign noted for Kopko’s unrelenting negative attacks.
“This isn’t my victory, it’s everybody’s.” – Nicholas Chiaravalloti
The 31st District includes all of Bayonne and about half of Jersey City.
In the 33rd District, which includes Hoboken, Union City, Weehawken, and parts of Jersey City, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji was re-elected to a second term. Annette Chaparro of Hoboken replaced outgoing Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia.
Democratic County Executive Tom DeGise easily won his fourth full term, defeating Republican Ivan Sutherland.
It will be a team effort
“To the people of Jersey City and all of you, this is an incredibly humbling experience,” Chiaravalloti said. “It is not easy going out and asking your friends, neighbors or strangers to trust you – that you can go down to Trenton and represent their issues. And I believe working together we can do more. I believe by working together we can get our fair share from Trenton. But at the end of the day, this is incredibly humbling.”
State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D – 31st) who was not up for reelection this year, celebrated the victory.
“I am so fortunate to have Nick on the Assembly. In eight years I’ve been in the Senate, the first four years, I didn’t really have a relationship with my Assembly people. That is a problem, because that means that bills that could be done are not done. I was thrilled when I finally got a team that could work together. Now I’m even happier that we have a team now that can work together to help Jersey City and Bayonne.”
She said Chiaravalloti is a wonderful person to work with.
“I think he’s a great guy, and I think he’s the kind of person who will do well because he has a dynamic team working for [the public] in Trenton.”
Hudson County’s ‘mayor’ also won
“After I won my election [in 2014], Tom DeGise told me, ‘Jimmy, there are two ways to run for office, you run scared, or you run unopposed,’ ” Bayonne Mayor James Davis said. “Hudson County’s Mayor is Tom DeGise.”
“I want to thank my running mates, Nicholas and Angela, it was a pleasuring coming in on your coattails,” joked DeGise, who won in a landslide. “This is my fourth term and a little piece of another one. And it’s been a nice ride. The reason I was able to put up the kinds of numbers I put up is because of the mayors in this county. For Jimmy Davis, who is mayor here, put a notch in the belt, this is a good one. You ran a good campaign. The only way I can repay my debt to the mayors and the residents of this county is to promise that I will work with them. I will work with the mayors and the Assembly people in Trenton, the City Council here in Bayonne, the Board of Freeholders, and make sure that Bayonne and Jersey City gets their share of the pie.”
Jersey City Board of Education sweep
The three candidates endorsed by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and the Jersey City teacher’s union – Vidya Gangadin, Marilyn Roman, and John Reichart – outpolled the only challenger Gina Verdibello in a relatively close race.
Gangadin, Roman and Reichart received just under 6,000 votes each, while Verdibello received about 5,000.
Verdibello was endorsed by board members Gerald Lyons and Lorenzo Richardson, who ran with her last year, and Councilman Rich Boggiano.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.