SECAUCUS -- When Hudson County Undersheriff Francis "Frank" Schillari announced his candidacy for Hudson County Sheriff he figured he could count on the support of his friends and neighbors back home in Secaucus - and he was right.
A number of prominent residents and local officials endorsed the Democrat over his Republican opponent, Hudson County Sheriff Juan Perez.
Supporting Schillari over Perez was a no brainer for Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, an Independent.
"We've had a good working relationship with Perez," Gonnelli said. "But Schillari is from Secaucus. From a town perspective, it's probably a little better for us to have a sheriff who's from the town. He asked for my support and I endorsed him."
Earlier in the election season, Schillari had campaign literature that encouraged voters to support him, but made no mention of his ballot placement, possibly because that placement hadn't yet been determined.
In recent weeks, however, a second batch of campaign material has popped up around town - and these signs clearly tell supporters to "Vote Column B," the Democratic line for the upcoming Nov. 2 general election.
Some Schillari signs go one step further and also list other candidates running on the Democratic line: U.S. Rep. Steven Rothman and local candidates running for Secaucus Town Council.
Depending on the ward where the campaign literature is displayed or circulated, the local candidate listed on Schillari's sign is either 1st Ward council candidate Robert Zych, 2nd Ward council candidate Nancy Mateo, or 3rd Ward council candidate Mark Bruscino.
Gonnelli said Thursday: "That's a problem."
At least it's a problem for him, because he's backing a slate of three Independent candidates for Town Council who are running against Zych, Mateo, and Bruscino.
On the November ballot the mayor's Independent Take Back Secaucus slate can be found on Column D. Gonnelli and his candidates - Gary Jeffas (1st Ward), James Clancy (2nd Ward), and Susan Pirro (3rd Ward) - are concerned that the mayor's supporters might vote a straight Column B ticket because of his previous endorsement of Schillari. - E. Assata Wright