Eight candidates filed to run for mayor of Hoboken in the special election to be held Nov. 3, the third mayoral election in the mile-square city in six months.
The deadline was Wednesday at 4 p.m. for candidates to file petitions at the County Clerk’s Office in Jersey City, but mishaps on deadline day by two of the main contenders left their candidacies in doubt.
Both Acting Mayor Dawn Zimmer and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason ran into trouble by waiting until the final hour to file their petitions.
“She was caught in an elevator that didn’t work.” – Paul Swibinski
The other six candidates are:
• Frank Raia, a local developer and former president of the Board of Education
• Kimberly Glatt, a former municipal judge who resigned her seat last week to enter the race
• Nathan Brinkman, the young co-founder of the Hoboken Republicans’ Club
• Patricia Waiters, a former corrections officer who ran for City Council this year
• Everton Wilson, a management specialist seeking his doctorate from the Stevens Institute of Technology
• Sal DeMeo, a retired Hoboken policeman who ran for City Council in 2003
Although several candidates considered legal challenges to Mason’s and Zimmer’s filings, no one at press time confirmed that any such action had been taken.
Still, residents wondered why the two main candidates would wait until the last minute to file in the first place.
The election will be held on Nov. 3, the same day as the New Jersey gubernatorial race. That means that more Hobokenites than usual may come out to vote.
Last May, Zimmer, Mason, and former Councilman Peter Cammarano were the leading contenders in a six-way race for mayor. Zimmer and Cammarano got the highest votes and entered a runoff election in June.
Cammarano won, but was arrested in July for allegedly taking a bribe in the form of campaign contributions.
Zimmer was sworn in as acting mayor after Cammarano resigned. She also retained her position as council president.
Mason plans to hammer Zimmer’s dual roles as she campaigns for the job.
Late, not great
Zimmer’s petitions, although notarized and filed just after 3:30 p.m. by campaign manager Sam Briggs, were missing her signature on the petition sheet itself, according to County Clerk Barbara Netchert.
Netchert said on Thursday that the requirement for her signature isn’t a legal requirement, but rather an “office practice.” Netchert said it was not a “defect,” but rather a “curable” situation.
Briggs said that Zimmer rushed from City Hall in a cab to the county office to get her John Hancock on the sheet before the 4 p.m. deadline.
When she arrived, nearing the 4 p.m. deadline, she ended up in the same elevator as Mason.
Briggs maintained that the signature was never actually needed, since there was no legal requirement.
Meanwhile, Mason arrived at the clerk’s office very close to the deadline after taking the day to gather more signatures, according to campaign manager Paul Swibinski.
Swibinski ran former Mayor Peter Cammarano’s successful campaign earlier this year.
“A series of incredible circumstances,” he said, left Mason scrambling. “At the last minute, things popped up.”
Swibinski said Mason hit traffic on Tonnelle Avenue and arrived at the county building around 3:45, “with plenty of time.”
“She was directed to a couple of different offices [erroneously],” he said, then was “caught in an elevator that didn’t work.”
Swibinski said Mason ended up taking the stairs four flights before clocking in her petitions at 4:04 p.m.
Netchert actually said the first petition was clocked in at 4 p.m. exactly, and that even lateness issues are “curable.”
Raia and Glatt both said they were looking into the legality of the situation, but neither confirmed any legal challenge by Friday.
Glatt said she believed there is three-business-day window for a formal protest to be filed.
A few election insiders said that judges usually allow candidates to enter the race, as long as no egregious violations are found. They offered the example of Sen. Robert Torricelli withdrawing his name from re-election in 2002 after a filing deadline and the courts allowing Frank Lautenberg to be named as his replacement.
The deadline for candidates to withdraw their names from consideration is Sept. 27, one day before ballot position drawings.
Timothy J. Carroll may be reached at email@example.com.