Members of the Hoboken Democratic Committee win suit to keep late filing candidates off ballot

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HOBOKEN — In Hoboken elections, nothing is easy, even trying to get elected to a small Democratic committee seat in the mile-square city. There are approximately 50 seats, but each one has some influence, because the Democratic Committee ends up helping pick candidates for local office.

The filing deadline was April 5 to run for a committee seat in June. Two candidates aligned with Mayor Dawn Zimmer missed the deadline to file. Still, their forms were accepted by Hoboken City Clerk James Farina two days later.

This didn’t sit well with some.

Democrats Ines Garcia-Keim and Peter Biancamano, committee members who aren’t allied with Zimmer, sued City Clerk James Farina, the Hudson County clerk, and the two late candidates, Sheillah Dallara and husband Aaron Dallara.

Biancamano said on Friday that his side won in court on Friday April 21 and the Dallaras will not be appearing on the ballot.

The suit stated Biancamano and Garcia–Keim had been “deprived of fundamental due process based upon Defendant Farina’s clear abuse of discretion.”

Sheillah Dallara, who is on the Hoboken Board of Education, and Aaron Dallara filed in the 1st District of the 2nd Ward.

Biancamano and Garcia-Keim wrote a letter to Farina dated April 13.

“Follow your statutory responsibilities and reconsider this blatantly illegal action before we are forced to pursue this matter further in court and/or with the appropriate law enforcement authorities,” they wrote.

Farina responded in a letter which said, “Significantly, the Clerk was timely provided correspondence dated April 3, 2017 and April 6, 2017 from Assemblyman Vincent Prieto and Mayor Dawn Zimmer advising that both individuals were running as part of the Hudson County Democratic Organization,” he wrote. “Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:23-20, candidates properly amended the documentation provided to the clerk’s office so as to remedy any defect by timely submitting the appropriate forms within the deadline to amend,” he wrote.

The HCDO is the county’s long-time Democratic political machine.

One local councilwoman said that the Dallaras’ forms were accidentally excluded when the forms for her team were brought to the clerk.

Garcia-Keim and Biancamano called Farina’s explanation “gibberish” and said that it did not excuse or refute the fact that the Dallaras filed petitions 48 hours after deadline.

Their attorney, Steve Kleinman, said, “We’re obviously pleased with the judge’s decision. The city’s position was both outrageous and ludicrous and clearly showed the city was trying to put its thumb on the scale on behalf of candidates supported the incumbent administration.”