Are you a registered Republican?
The man on 11th Street in Hoboken asked the question over and over as people passed, some shaking their heads, some shrugging and moving on. But the clipboard he had showed a number signatures, indicating the changing nature of Hudson County politics.
“I’m collecting signatures for Mitt Romney,” he said when asked.
This is part of a statewide effort to get Romney the GOP nomination, an effort in which Hudson County may actually play a key role.
“Hudson County is Mitt Romney country,” said Hudson County Republican Chairman Jose Arango, who said workers are active in all the municipalities gathering signatures that will allow Romney to appear on the Republican primary ballot in June.
“We have people in all the municipalities,” Arango said. “And we have prominent people who are going to be part of the Romney delegation to the Republican Convention.”
The Republicans are pressing hard with a full slate of candidates for the House of Representatives, running Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of Secaucus in the 9th Congressional District against either Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell or Rep. Steve Rothman. Maria Karczewski of Bayonne is running in the 8th District against Rep. Albio Sires.
Washington Flores is an independent Republican in the 10th district, which includes a larger portion of Bayonne as well as sections of Newark and other parts of Essex County, a position that became vacant with the unfortunate death of Rep. Donald Payne in February.
Also running as an independent Republican against in the 8th District is Tony Zanowic, a Bayonne resident and Hudson County native. Zanowic announced his candidacy in front of the Hoboken Republican Club’s Seventh Annual Lincoln Dinner.
“I am running to give voters a real choice,” Zanowic said. “I’m not afraid of a confrontation. I’ll stand up for what’s right. And with your support, I can win.”
Zanowic then listed his three highest priorities if elected: downsizing government, cutting taxes and restoring the nation’s economy.
Stack loses twice at North Hudson Regional
An effort to select a former Union City resident as the new chief of the North Hudson Regional Fire Department failed when the other mayors of the multi-city department voted for someone else.
State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack apparently sought to have the third highest scorer on the state Civil Service test named to the post, but the other mayors decided that the person who finished highest on the test would do just fine.
Although the decision has already been made, the announced has not yet been made official by press time.
Stack apparently wanted to replace Ralph Lamparello’s firm, who does legal work for the fire department, with a firm not associated with his rival state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco. But apparently, this move also failed.
This may be one additional step towards the anticipated civil war among Democrats in Hudson County.
Already there is a cold war going on, where even people talking to Stack risk retribution by the Hudson County Democratic Organization, which controls many of the patronage jobs in the county.
If the HCDO keeps denying these jobs to Stack, he may just make the final break with them and set up his own slate in the June primary against the HCDO-backed ticket. There has been talk and speculation about this ticket.
The big issue for Stack right now is money – something he might be able to get if he gets the right people on his ticket, such as Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason, who according to rumor is being considered as an Assembly candidate.
Republican Governor Christopher Christie, however, might be tempted to dangle a little state campaign money in front of Stack, just to make sure that the Democrats in Hudson County are divided for the presidential race in November that will like pit Romney against Democratic President Barrack Obama.
To get support, all Stack will need to do is endorse Republican state Senator Joseph Kyrillos against U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in the U.S. Senate race.
If Christie can deliver one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats into Republican hands this year, he goes a long way towards earning his own slot as a possible presidential candidate in 2016, or maybe even as a vice presidential candidate later this year.
Board of education races to watch
With four candidates running for three seats in Secaucus, it is clear that this year’s election for the Board of Education is about targeting incumbent Trustee Tom Troyer, who has been a staunch supporter of an unpopular superintendent of schools. The slogan generated around town is “Vote for three, not Mister T.”
The candidates include Troyer, Kelli D’Addetta, Gary Riebesell, and former teachers’ union representative, Robert Anderson who resigned his union post to run against Troyer.
For the first time in recent memory, the Weehawken Board is seeing a challenge for several seats with five candidates for three seats, suggesting a possible future municipal council challenge. This can’t make Mayor Richard Turner happy.
The candidates include Richard Barsa, Gregory Moran, Joseph Rutigliano, Gabrielle Jonas, and Ildefonso Acosta.
In Jersey City, there are eight candidates for three vacant seats. Councilman Steve Fulop, who has successfully backed tickets for the last several years, is again backing three candidates.
The candidates include Gerald M. Lyons, Vidya Gangadin, De Jon Morris, former interim mayor Marilyn Roman, Sangeeta Ranade, Amanda Khan, Jayson H. Burg and Frank Lorenzo.