Mayor Dawn Zimmer will kick off her reelection campaign on April 17 with an appearance by Phil Murphy, a prominent Democratic candidate for governor.
This dispels the wishful thinking in the anti-Zimmer faction in Hoboken that she may have lost favor with Murphy.
An early supporter of Murphy’s bid for governor, Zimmer has positioned herself to get significant benefits for Hoboken if he successfully wins the nomination in June and later the general election in November.
This move put her at odds with a number of local officials – especially Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who a year ago was positioning himself to become the Democratic nominee for governor. But in a dramatic shift, Fulop dropped out of the race last October, throwing his support behind Murphy, starting an avalanche of support for him throughout the county. This will be highlighted by an upcoming cocktail party on May 9 sponsored by the Hudson County Democratic Organization at the Liberty House in Jersey City featuring Murphy, a bash audaciously calling Murphy “our next governor.”
Is this a message?
Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, who just had her own fundraiser this week, is rumored to be running for state Senate instead. This may be one of those wishful thinking rumors since the current occupant of the seat is Sandra Cunningham.
The rumor may actually be a message to Cunningham to stay out of the Jersey City mayoral race.
Fulop is starting to rack up a number of key endorsements, including one from State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack and, most recently, another from County Executive Tom DeGise, but many political observers say Fulop is still weak with the African-American community. This could make him vulnerable to a strong African-American candidate.
Jerry Walker in 2013 ran a surprisingly strong campaign for mayor, although he is not considered strong enough this year to defeat an incumbent Fulop.
Cunningham, however, could bring together that community – if she can be enticed into running. The rumor of McKnight’s seeking her seat as state senator in the June primary may be designed to discourage Cunningham, or at least force her to defend her seat months before the mayoral election in November.
Hudson County not so welcoming
Activists in support of immigrant rights hung a banner on the Statute of Liberty this week saying “Immigrants Welcome.”
The inscription at the base of the statue already says that, but in much more poetic language.
The problem is, not many national leaders who are calling for deporting immigrants seem to have read the poetry of Emma Lazarus either: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
Ironically, Hudson County – which is considered one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States – is heading for a conflict over undocumented detainees held in the Hudson County Correctional Facility.
County officials say they are cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the less stringent conditions set forth under President Barack Obama. But critics claim the agreement will operate under whatever conditions the federal government currently dictates.
Donald Trump has already announced that he will call for more aggressive enforcement, so Hudson County will have to comply or void its agreement to house detainees. Currently Hudson County holds about 1,000 detainees, a figure expected to rise sharply shortly.
ICE enforcement appears to be very active in Hudson County. Police reported seeing detainee transportation vehicles in Jersey City, and rumors are widespread about ICE raids in West New York and Secaucus.
ICE officials, however, said raids are not being conducted. But individuals are being sought, and anyone who is questioned during such a probe could face detention.
Undocumented immigrants have come into the computer age. Apparently, some have developed apps for their smart phones that allow them to keep track of ICE raids and help avoid being caught up in one.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
Although reportedly a deal has been struck that would give HDCO support in the Democratic primary to Freeholder Anthony Romano to retain his freeholder seat, Romano says no deal has been struck. The deal, as reported, would have Romano give up his plan to run for mayor of Hoboken against Zimmer in November.
Romano, however, said he has not made up his mind about running for mayor, and intends to seek the Democratic nomination for freeholder with or without HCDO support.
“If I win the nomination, then I might run for mayor and freeholder at the same time,” he said. “If I win both, then I’ll have to decide which one to accept.”
While this practice is banned in a number of states, it is legal in New Jersey to run for more than one office at the same time. You just can’t hold two elected offices (if you were first elected after 2012). Those who hold multiple offices prior to that date can retain and run for reelection, provided they are the same seats – such as with Stack, who serves as both a mayor and state senator.
John Glenn remembered
The anniversary of John Glenn as the first American to orbit the earth passed on Feb. 20, prompting local response to his passing. Glenn, who also served as U.S. Senator, died in December at 95.
“I worked with him in the late 1980s and early 1990s,” said Jack Butchko, a former candidate for council in Bayonne as well as a political consultant for a number of people throughout Hudson County. “He was a really nice guy.”
A veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, Glenn had the distinction of having baseball legend, Ted Williams, as his Air Force wing man.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com