JERSEY CITY – While an official announcement and statement are expected to come either later today or tomorrow, sources within the reelection campaign of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy said this morning that Ward E candidate Dan Levin will join the Healy slate for the upcoming 2013 election.
Levin – a popular downtown activist who has advanced pay to play legislation, fiscal responsibility in government, and transparency among public officials – has in the past been at odds with Healy and his administration. Most recently, Levin was publicly critical of Healy’s 2011 municipal budget, which Levin said included a hidden tax increase.
Levin has twice run independently for public office, including a run for mayor in 2009 against Healy. Last year Levin ran for a city council at-large seat during a special election. He lost both races.
Having made two attempts to run for office on his own, Levin seemed determined this year to run on a viable major slate. According to sources within the Healy campaign, the two men have met on several occasions and have grown to have a mutual respect for one another. In recent months, as Levin was gearing up for a run for the Ward E council seat, rumors began to circulate that he was open to running on Healy’s ticket.
Steven Fulop, who is running for mayor against Healy next year, currently holds the Ward E City Council seat.
The addition of Levin to the Healy slate is something of a coup for the mayor. Through Levin, he could attract votes from downtown residents who are loyal to Fulop, since Fulop and Levin draw from the same base of support and appeal to similar demographics. This could split some of Fulop’s votes in Ward E.
But the alliance is not without some risk. In online forums some Fulop supporters have already been critical of Levin for even considering a run with Healy, and his inclusion on the slate could hurt his image among some downtown voters.
At present, the only other declared Ward E candidate is political newcomer Candace Osborne, who is running on Fulop’s slate.
This is a developing story. For more, please see the Oct.14 edition (this Sunday) of the Jersey City Reporter. – E. Assata Wright