Members of the Bayonne mayoral campaign staff of James Davis say they have obtained the services of West New York Town Manager Joe DeMarco to manage the campaign.
DeMarco, who is also a councilman in Bernardsville, served as campaign manager for Dr. Felix Roque’s successful campaign for West New York mayor in 2011.
Roque’s victory in 2011 was seen as a significant victory for DeMarco, since it came against opposition by Hudson County’s political elite, including U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, who was then chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
The Davis campaign still faces an uphill battle, as Smith’s polling shows Davis behind Smith in a three-way race – but much has changed over the last three years. Smith is no longer the HCDO chairman, and a number of powerful Hudson County political people are likely to support Davis.
Davis people were originally going to go with Joe Lauro of Union City, who had helped get Donald Payne, Jr. elected to the House of Representatives two years ago. But the campaign opted for DeMarco instead.
The campaign was trying to court Tom Bertoli – the behind the scenes political heavyweight who helped get Steven Fulop elected mayor of Jersey City – but could not lure him into the campaign.
But they still expect to link the Davis municipal campaign to a push by Fulop to control who takes the freeholder seat open in the June primary. Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico is expected to be challenged by John Minella, executive director of the HCDO and a close Fulop ally.
Smith, who is expected to back DiDomenico, was scheduled to announce his full ticket this week, and the slate is expected to include all five current council members. This was not set in stone as of two weeks ago, when one or more of the council members appeared uncertain whether to run again.
In 2010, Smith carried in all five council members, even though four of the five were relatively unknown citywide. Historically, however, Bayonne mayors tend to lose one or two council seats in later elections.
The two challengers running against Smith still haven’t chosen all their running mates. The Davis ticket is still short one candidate, and the Anthony Zanowic ticket is short two. Both tickets are expected to fill out shortly, and with a number of independent candidates possible for council, especially in the 1st Ward, where one or more runoff elections are inevitable.
Fulop seeks control of freeholder board?
The Bayonne freeholder battle is part of a large countywide conflict in which Fulop hopes to gain a voting majority of the nine-member Freeholder board.
Fulop people intend to unseat Freeholder Jeff Dublin in Jersey City, partly for his open support of Fulop’s opponent, Jerramiah Healy in last year’s mayoral election.
Since Freeholder Bill O’Dea and Junior Maldonado are already in Fulop’s camp, Fulop will potentially control four of the nine seats.
This makes the Hoboken/Jersey City freeholder seat currently occupied by Anthony Romano critical. Fulop has given the choice to Zimmer, who apparently has decided to back Phil Cohen. But reports suggest that the remnants of the Ruben Ramos Jr.’ mayoral campaign will seek to back Perry Belfore as a third candidate, payback to Romano for failing to endorse Ramos last fall.
Freeholder Chairman Jose Munoz also has a tough reelection effort as WNY Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez announced she will seek to unseat him. She is backed by WNY Mayor Felix Rogue, state Sen. Nicholas Sacco, state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Rep. Albio Sires, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, and others.
Thomas Liggio, who represents all of North Bergen and part of Secaucus, said he will not run for reelection, despite being named vice chairman this year. He said he learned of his loss of Sacco’s support from a report in the newspaper. Although Sacco aide Anthony Vainieri is supposed to run for the seat instead, reports suggest that he will also face a primary battle.
What’s really going on behind ‘Bridgegate’ anyway?
With all the talk of Gov. Christopher Christie’s influence over the Port Authority through Chairman David Samson, you have to wonder why New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is staying quiet.
Democrats are having a feeding frenzy with each new revelation of alleged conflicts of interest involving Samson, but not Cuomo.
Unlike most of his fellow Democrats, Cuomo appears not to want to burn the bridge with his New Jersey counterpart and will wait until everything is fully vetted.
While Samson appears to be the most vivid target in the aftermath of the so called “Bridgegate Scandal,” the media has been investigating possible abuses of Sandy recovery aid, noting that some communities that suffered least after the storm received more than their fair share of the recovery money, while other communities – even staunch Republican strongholds such as some shore communities – got shortchanged.
You might expect a Republican governor to steer funds to Republican strongholds, but in some cases, the places claiming to be shortchanged are as staunchly Republican as you can find in the state. This suggests that there might be another agenda connected with the Sandy aid distribution.
While Democrats originally tried to tie aid distribution to political endorsements, that theory also seems to miss the mark, since even towns whose mayors supported Christie failed to get the aid they requested.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich recently said that Christie had courted his endorsement for two years, showering the town with state benefits.
This is very believable, but hardly the smoking gun most Democrats are seeking in order to bring down a Republican governor Democrats love to hate.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s accusations may come closer to putting a finger on the problem, tying aid to specific projects such as approval of the private Rockefeller project. But since recent revelations show that Samson also had significant ties to NJ Transit, you have to wonder why Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno wasn’t pushing for the much more lucrative NJ Transit project at the other end of Hoboken instead.
With all the subpoenas being thrown about like confetti, you have to wonder when the Democratic controlled legislature will start impeachment proceedings. Under state law, the state Senate is charged with determining if the governor had committed a crime, but it is the state Assembly that actually impeaches him.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.