Those most savvy about the political process understand that the next election starts the day after the last election is over.
This is particularly true in Jersey City, where two likely candidates for mayor in the 2013 election – incumbent Council President Peter Brennan and newly re-elected Councilwoman Viola Richardson – are slated to face off against each other for city council president, a key position from which to launch a bigger campaign. Their council colleagues vote on the council presidency in January.
Brennan, whose mayoral bid would likely get strong backing from county level political people, will have to declare one way or another by January or February 2012 so as to lock in the critical support he needs.
The 2013 race for mayor will divide loyalties within the Hudson County Democratic Organization, which up to this point has supported Mayor Jerramiah Healy. But this won’t be true in the next election. This puts Brennan in a good position, since he can count on key county people such as County Executive Tom DeGise, Buddy Demellier, and Craig Guy.
Healy was supposed to have brought Demellier and Guy into his administration, Demellier as chief of staff and Guy as police chief, but it never happened.
Meanwhile, Richardson’s victory in the special election gives her the credibility to run for mayor – if state Sen. Sandra Cunningham decides not to.
Although some people are pushing to have Cunningham enter the race, many others believe she would be a fool to give up her current powerful position as state senator to take on the economic nightmare of running the city of Jersey City.
Healy has not made up his mind yet whether he will run for reelection. Odds are he won’t – but won’t let anyone know for certain until the very last moment.
Councilman Steven Fulop is the only officially declared candidate for mayor up to this point, but it is clear that if others intend to run, then they will have to make their intentions known soon.
The county people also have to look to the future since it is unlikely that DeGise will run for county executive again and they will need a place to land, and having Brennan as mayor of Jersey City would provide them with a place to go.
If Richardson runs, she will have to get Cunningham’s blessing, and the real test will be her ability to get out the vote throughout the city. Her recent election to the at-large seat came largely out of Ward F and other areas where Cunningham had a strong base.
Mayor Healy, however, may have the last laugh – at least for the next year – because the council must decide who will fill Richardson’s vacated Ward F seat. If he can keep his four votes on the City Council in line for the vote, Healy may be able to get his pick, Ron Clark, to the seat. If the council splits 4-4 on a vote, Healy becomes the tiebreaker and can name his candidate to the post.
Smith stayed neutral in Jersey City election, his people say
According to his political staff, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith really did stay out of the Jersey City special election race, and did not support Suzanne Mack as reported in this column last week. Smith, as chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, would have had to choose between potential political allies. But he did let his supporters choose for themselves who they wished to support. Mack’s loss in the special election, while a surprise at first, may be attributed partly to resentment among some members of Fulop’s camp, who supported her election to the school board, but were taken aback when she ran for council.
Although Smith people claim that the rift between Smith and state Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco isn’t as significant as reports claim, there are hints that Sacco may be seeking to replace Smith as head of the HCDO next June, putting Assemblyman Ruben Ramos in Smith’s place as chairman.
What does the Union City job for Michele Russo mean?
State Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack is famous winning public favor by giving away turkeys each holiday season. Although you can see this as an altruistic action, it has its political side – people who get a free turkey are also likely to feel good enough around election time to cast their vote for the man who gave them the turkey.
Stack gave the Russo family a big turkey just in time for Thanksgiving this year, in the form of a job for Michele Russo – mother of Hoboken Councilman Michael Russo.
Stack has to be looking ahead to a potential countywide Democratic fight in the upcoming years. This move will make sure that at least half the city of Hoboken will be split in that fight, with the 3rd, 4th, and possibly the 1st wards backing him in any countywide Democratic civil war.
Don’t trust the quiet in Hoboken
All’s quiet in Hoboken these days. But don’t let that fool you – it only means that there is more behind-the-scenes plotting going on.
The problem is that the question of who is plotting against whom has changed from a mere six months ago, when opponents of Mayor Dawn Zimmer vowed to work together after they lost control of the City Council.
Back in June, the anti-Zimmer forces vowed to back one candidate against Zimmer when she came up for reelection in 2013.
That’s all out the window now, as potential rivals again plot against each other in what will likely be another free-for-all race for mayor.
One former freeholder has been pushing to get either Assemblyman Ruben Ramos or former municipal judge Kim Glatt to run. Meanwhile, you have the usual suspects, Councilwoman Beth Mason and former Board of Education member and Hoboken developer Frank Raia.
Candidates are crossing off the days on their calendars for when they can officially declare.