HOBOKEN– Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano is running for reelection in November and simultaneously running for mayor of Hoboken.
This isn’t sitting well with a lawyer in North Bergen — who said, when asked, that he is working for a “confidential client.” The lawyer, Eric Dixon, has written a letter to the Hudson County clerk and state attorney general questioning whether Romano can run for both offices.
Six people are running for mayor of Hoboken. Freeholder Romano and Councilman Michael DeFusco are said to be splitting the same base — which may be the reason behind the confidential client’s interest in Hoboken affairs.
In an Aug. 22 certified letter, Dixon said he was representing a “client, a resident of Hudson County who is not a candidate for any public office and who wishes not to be identified at this time.”
He wrote, “My client requests your office immediately examine and rule on the legality of the candidacy of a current county freeholder candidate, already nominated by primary to appear on this November’s general election ballot, for a second elected office the candidate is reportedly seeking.”
He wrote, “It is my view that this candidate is not merely prohibited from holding two elected offices, but also prohibited from being a candidate for two elected offices in the same election.”
He said, “In addition, the adverse consequences of this dual candidacy will be severe to residents of the jurisdictions in which this candidate seeks two offices; if he wins both contests, residents – his constituents – would be deprived of all representation for one full year in the one office the candidate would be prevented from accepting.”
Dixon adds, “That is because the law would deem a vacancy to exist in the one office he declines., and the law states such a vacancy would not be filled until a special election held at the next general electing in November 2018.”
The letter additionally outlines specific sections of state law that Romano’s dual candidacy may violate, including NJ Revised Statute 19:3-5.1 which states “No person may accept a nomination by petition in the manner provided by R.S. 19:13-8 or consent to the acceptance of a nomination in a petition for a primary election in the manner provided by R.S. 19:23-7, for more than one office to be filled at the same general election, the simultaneous holding of which would be prohibited by the Constitution of the State of New Jersey or R.S. 19:3-5.”
Regarding running for two offices at once, Romano said in June, “In time we will decide with the campaign staff and others what road we will take in that area.” He did not offer further comment this week.
Campaign manager Pablo Fonseca told another news sources that “We’re confident Anthony Romano can be on the ballot twice although he can only hold one office. This is a desperate candidate doing this. If you have confidence in your message and the residents of Hoboken, you wouldn’t concern yourself with this issue.”
Candidates have until Sept. 5 to file their petitions for Mayor of Hoboken.
Freeholder is a part time job. In that position, Romano represents a county freeholder district representing Hoboken and Jersey City Heights. Mayor of Hoboken is a full-time job. He would not be allowed to hold both positions if he won both.