Bayonne Mayor James Davis officially announces reelection bid

Davis faces a challenge from City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski

Mayor James Davis has officially announced that he will run for reelection in the upcoming May nonpartisan contest in Bayonne.

Davis is seeking a third term to continue leading the city since he took the reins in 2014. Under his leadership, Davis said Bayonne is “thriving with a redevelopment plan that is growing the city in a smart, sustainable way while creating millions in new tax revenue to expand services and restore the city’s financial footing.”

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“Bayonne is my home and there is nothing more important to me than seeing our city succeed and our residents thrive — it’s why I get out of bed in the morning, why I work hard for our community every day and why I’m running for reelection now,” said Davis.

“Even with the unprecedented challenges we’ve faced like COVID-19, Hurricane Ida, threats to our healthcare system and more, our city’s future has never been brighter and our residents have never been prouder to live in Bayonne. I’m running to continue that progress and keep Bayonne moving forward.”

Running on past accomplishments

In the announcement, Davis touted some of his key accomplishments ranging from redevelopment and recreation to COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida. Davis highlighted his administration’s management of the city’s redevelopment process to attract new investment and additional tax revenue, specifically the redevelopment of the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) site including new mixed-use buildings, an under-construction UPS logistics center, and a planned ferry terminal.

According to Davis, under his leadership the city has been helping small businesses, opening new restaurants, stores and services, and expanding and improving recreation programs and facilities. He also pointed to his administration seeking to keep Bayonne safe by hiring more police officers and investing in technology and community policing programs.

Davis also touted helping the community get through the COVID-19 pandemic with access to vaccine and testing sites, and assisting residents and businesses with flooding during Hurricane Ida and ensuring that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides recovery funds.

Additionally, Davis highlighted his efforts to “protecting residents’ access to essential healthcare services by fighting against attempts to close Bayonne Medical Center,” referring to his support of the eminent domain process against the hospital property to ensure that BMC Hospital, LLC will operate the facility.

City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski announced her candidacy for mayor in December of 2021.

Bitter battles ahead?

Following his victory in 2014, Davis won reelection four years later and his ticket swept all five city council races in addition to his own. A retired captain with the Bayonne Police Department, Davis grew up in the city and lives with his wife and youngest son.

Davis will face a challenge in the mayoral contest by City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski. Ashe-Nadrowski launched her campaign in early December after previously successfully running alongside Davis in both 2014 and 2018. Just before her announcement, Davis put out a short statement that he was running for reelection and is now further confirming it with a lengthier official announcement.

While both have now officially declared, the campaign had seemingly been ongoing in the months leading up to the announcements with Ashe-Nadrowski distancing herself from Davis and clashing with him on a number of issues, including the use of eminent domain on the hospital property. Meanwhile, Davis had been fundraising and campaigning, gaining the endorsement of two local labor unions since July of 2021.

According to recent filings with the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) in October, Davis has approximately $132,000 in his account while Ashe-Nadrowski has only approximately $150. All things considered, Davis will likely be a tough opponent for Ashe-Nadrowski, having the backing of the Hudson County Democratic Organization.

Davis recently flexed his political muscle in 2021 with the successful removal of Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti from the county line and replacement with crane operator William Sampson, which the HCDO backed him up on. While there have been a number of lawsuits filed against Davis, that may not matter because he sailed to reelection in 2018 despite ongoing litigation.

Slate announcement and more coming soon

The Davis campaign said it will be announcing its city council slate, key endorsements and more information in the coming weeks. Ashe-Nadrowski has yet to unveil a council slate either. The municipal election will be held on May 10, 2022.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com. 

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