Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer made it official this week when she announced on a podcast that she will run for reelection.
A number of people will be unhappy to hear this, and not all of them Zimmer’s political enemies.
Council members Ravi Bhalla, David Mello, and Jennifer Giattino may have to wait another four years to get a chance to run for mayor.
But it is clear that Zimmer’s plans for the rehabilitation of Washington Street and the Hoboken flood wall will require the mayor’s attention. Without Zimmer to steer the projects, they may falter or change. Even Zimmer’s closest allies are not as committed to these complex engineering efforts as the mayor is, and might stray from the true path without her in the leadership role.
The 2017 municipal election in Hoboken will likely see a conflict inside the Zimmer camp as people position themselves to eventually become the next mayor.
Zimmer will not have to resort to the dirty trick of a third ticket like the one that allowed her to win with less than 50 percent of the vote in 2013.
The 2015 mid-term elections showed just how weakened her external opposition has become, and how the torch for leadership has moved on. This is going to be a significant challenge for “born and raised” Hoboken candidates, who will be forced to embrace newcomers in order to win votes.
Freeholder Anthony Romano has said he is running for mayor. But he will run in the Democratic primary for freeholder first. The primary is that June; the mayoral election is in November.
But even if he can keep the Old Hoboken vote from fracturing, Romano will still need candidates that better reflect the emerging new Hoboken.
O’Dea might seek to be mayor
If Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop successfully becomes the Democratic candidate for governor in 2017, he will leave a void in City Hall.
Freeholder Bill O’Dea – a strong ally of Fulop – suggested this week that he would seek the mayoralty in 2017, perhaps as a stepping stone to county executive in 2019.
But the list of potential candidates reads like an old fashioned phone book, and many believe O’Dea can’t carry the entire city, even though he is a powerhouse on the west side. Among those who want to fill Fulop’s shoes are Council President Rolando Lavaro, Councilwoman Joyce Watterman, former Assemblyman Sean Connors, Councilman Richard Boggiano, and even former mayor, Jerramiah Healy (to name only a few).
Councilwoman Candice Osborne, who was elected to Fulop’s council seat when he ran for mayor in 2013, will apparently seek reelection in Ward E. She was once rumored as a possible mayoral candidate. The rumor may explain the recent spate of unjustified attacks on her during council meetings when she tried to modify some parking regulations.
A similar series of attacks against Councilwoman Diane Coleman may explain why she may not seek reelection to her Ward F seat.
Reports suggest that Ward A Councilman Frank Gajewski will not likely seek reelection, leaving at least two seats without incumbents in the 2017 municipal election.
Former Councilman Bill Gaughan retired as chief of staff for the county executive this month. He attended the recent Jersey City St. Patrick’s Day parade where O’Dea – as grand marshal – asked Gaughan to join him on the reviewing stand as tribute to his service to Jersey City and Hudson County.
Should Christie resign?
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has called for Gov. Christopher Christie to resign due to his ties to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, and has launched a website with a petition, www.stepdownchris.com.
Christie endorsed Trump after the governor dropped his own bid for president earlier this month.
Christie has been campaigning out of state for Trump ever since, most likely with the ambition of becoming U.S. Attorney General if Trump is elected.
Fulop points to the fact that Christie even skipped the funeral of a New Jersey state trooper in order to help Trump.
Fulop, who is running for governor in 2017, is supposedly backing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.
While Jersey City and Hudson County are considered a Democratic stronghold, some political observers say Trump has significant support even here.
“You would be surprised how many people are for Trump,” said one prominent former official.
This union between Christie and Trump has a number of prominent members of the GOP concerned, since both men seem to reflect a new attitude in politics as well as a disregard for the party establishment.
Roque makes peace with his political enemies
Winning changes everything. That much was proven last week when West New York Mayor Felix Roque made peace with one of his biggest critics, WNY Schools Trustee Matthew Cheng.
Roque’s overwhelming victory during municipal elections last May should have made it possible for him to easily defeat Cheng in the November school board elections. But Roque-supported candidates just could not muster enough votes to get rid of Cheng, a persistent Roque critic.
At a fundraiser in Secaucus last week, Roque surprised many of his own people by embracing Cheng as well as former Freeholder Jose Munoz, perhaps an even more potential opponent.
While the peace will only last until the next election, West New York for the moment appears to be healing after nearly a decade of turbulence.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.