If anything, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer should adopt the old Chicago hit from the 1970s as her theme song, the way President Bill Clinton co-opted songs from Fleetwood Mac. Each day, Zimmer’s hold on city government seems to grow stronger and her odds for being reelected next May (or November) look more favorable.
This strength only comes in part from the fact that expected option is so fractured that it might be to their benefit, not hers, if the referendum for moving the election to November passes so that they have more time to regroup.
As things stand today, the candidates most likely to run in opposition to Zimmer are Assemblyman Ruben Ramos and former school trustee Frank Raia. But Councilwoman Terry Castellano appears to be serious in wanting to run as well.
This is a nightmare for Councilman Michael Russo, who reports suggest is leaning toward supporting Ramos. Castellano is his cousin, and Russo might have to worry about Raia supporting an alternative candidate in against Russo in the 3rd ward.
Ramos also faces some challenges. Although apparently plunging ahead with his campaign in the belief that opposition people will have to support him, Ramos may have an unpleasant surprise when Raia runs anyway and splits the opposition vote. With Raia’s own substantial wealth and the support of the also wealthy Councilwoman Beth Mason, Ramos will need to find a significant money source.
The other big question in this race is State Sen. Brian Stack and whose side he will take. Will he support a Ramos run for mayor, or will he back Zimmer?
Someone is doing a poll to see who the most viable candidate is in Hoboken, and from the panicked reaction of the Ramos camp, it isn’t him. Nor is it likely Mason. A few knowledgeable people believe the poll might have been authorized by Russo.
Elected or appointed board in WNY?
As reported in the West New York Reporter this week, some people are looking to change from an appointed to an elected board of education. This may be a huge challenge for people who sign petitions, leaving them vulnerable to political retribution in a town where the mayor has already been accused of harassing his political enemies.
A popular mayor usually has nothing to fear from an elected board, since he or she can generally get the needed candidates elected to control it. But for a mayor under fire, such as Mayor Felix Roque, an elected board can be a breeding ground for a political uprising, generating legitimate future commissioner candidates.
An appointed board usually reflects the wishes of the mayor but also tends to create a more consistent policy, avoiding for the most part the political bickering that takes place with disputed elections. For Roque, who is already facing a serious threat of recall, an elected board would only cause him more dismay.
Getting Mr. Clean a little dirty
Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop – who some have dubbed “Mr. Clean” – appears to be facing a rough road on what had seen as a smooth road to the 2013 mayoral election prior to this. His campaign’s overreaction to stories appearing in The Hudson Reporter over the last few weeks may give his political opponents a roadmap to defeating him next May.
Until this point, Fulop seemed like a certain winner, but over the last few weeks, his campaign appeared to be coming apart, trying to deal with stories that seem to cast him in a negative light.
Two weeks ago, the Reporter published excerpts from a leaked e-mail in which Fulop referred to an apparently secret meeting in May 2011 with elected school board members and with then-acting state education commissioner Christopher Cerf. Fulop had recently downplayed his involvement with the board and with the controversial selection process for a new school superintendent.
For incumbent Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who a year ago seemed unlikely to see reelection, this provides a tool for diverting Fulop’s attention. You can expect a plethora of leaked information that could keep Fulop’s people doing damage control rather than organizing for the upcoming campaign. This is not to say there will be any truth to allegations, but raising questions could help tarnish the Mr. Clean image enough for Healy to eke out a victory.
Even without these distractions, the Fulop camp has been slow in unveiling its ticket, and since the announcement of three council candidates in May, there has been a lull. If anything, Fulop actually has lost one of the candidates he was to run with as Ward B Councilman David Donnelly, a former Healy aide, has decided not to seek reelection. To date, Fulop has Councilman at large Rolando Lavarro and Ward E community activist Candice Osborne on his ticket. Frank Garjewsi is reportedly on the ticket, too, although no official announcement has been made.
Fulop’s opposition appears to be looking to include Councilman Peter Brennan, Councilman Michael Sottolano, Ester Winters, Michael Young, and Imtiaz Syad. Possible alternative choices might be Charles Epps and Rich Boggiano.
Remarkably, neither camp appears to want two of the strongest City Council people, Viola Richardson and Nidia Lopez, who are likely to run independently and just as likely to win.
Another candidate in the 8th District
In a column talking about contenders for the 8th Congressional District, we neglected to note that Stephen DeLuca is also running, a Jersey City resident who took on the establishment in the past by running against incumbent Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. Look for more about DeLuca in upcoming columns.