HOBOKEN — UPDATE: Zimmer confirmed in a press conference on Tuesday that she has canceled her November re-election bid in order to fight against climate change. You can see our more recent breaking news item about the press conference by heading to hudsonreporter.com. The newer item is at the top of the page.
After Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s office announced late on Monday that they would hold a surprise press conference at 11 a.m. this morning, political websites cited inside sources as saying she is planning not to run for a third term as mayor.
Zimmer’s office would not reveal to the Reporter on Monday night the precise nature of the conference.
InsiderNJ reported that she would endorse Councilman Ravi Bhalla, the only person so far who has publicly said he is running for council on her re-election ticket.
The election for mayor and three council-at-large seats (including Bhalla’s) will be held in November.
As reported in the Hoboken Reporter’s election roundup story last month, Bhalla had been raising money for his council bid.
“As of the March 31, I had raised about $121,000,” Bhalla told the Reporter last month, “and I currently have $94,122 in cash on hand.”
He said, “We must make smart development decisions, bringing more amenities that our residents want such as shops, restaurants, and parks to our city, while curbing more residential development—the kind of development that research and experience show raises our property taxes and harms our quality of life.”
Zimmer has not actually served two full terms. She initially ran for mayor during her first term on the City Council in 2009, but lost to Peter Cammarano, who was then arrested three weeks into his mayoral term that summer. Zimmer, who was then City Council president, became interim mayor. She ran in a special election and won. She was re-elected in 2013.
Zimmer and Murphy
InsideNJ speculated — while noting it had no information on this — that she may have a high-ranking job lined up in the campaign of gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy. Murphy is opposing Republican candidate Kim Guadagno, the lieutenant governor who has sparred with Zimmer in the past. In a widely reported situation, Zimmer accused her and the administration of Gov. Chris Christie to put pressure on her to help shepherd a Hoboken development deal for a friend. Zimmer alleged that Guadagno implied that Hurricane Sandy aid might be dependent on help for the project, a significant redevelopment of a large industrial portion of the northern part of town. The administration and Guadagno denied any pressure or wrongdoing.
Insiders did say Zimmer placed a call to Murphy, whom she has vocally supported, about her decision.
Should Zimmer drop out, the news may energize the campaign of Councilman Michael DeFusco, a former Zimmer ally who has criticized various aspects of her administration, particularly the perceived red tape and roadblocks someone must deal with in town to open a business or develop or renovate one’s property. DeFusco’s campaign recently announced its first council candidate, fiscally conservative resident Michael Flett.
Businesswoman Karen Nason, who also has been vocal about the red tape, has also announced her mayoral election bid and raised money. (For more, see last month’s election story, linked above.)
Perhaps more significantly, Freeholder Anthony Romano, who is running for re-eleciton, has also been angling to run for mayor. He is allowed to run for both positions, although he may only keep one. He is expected to announce shortly.
Watch the Reporter later today for more details.