With only a few exceptions, the June 7 primary elections will be largely about each political party’s ability to get out their vote, part of an exercise in organizational skills that will test their apparatus for the fall elections.
While there are battles for committee seats in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Secaucus as future candidates seek to get control of the Democratic organizations in those towns, most of the races for two Assembly seats and one Senate seat in each district are uncontested. Thus, in most cases, whoever is on the ballot for the Democratic and Republican nominations this June will be getting the nod to face off against each other in November.
A last-minute compromise among state Sen./Union City Mayor Brian Stack and Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairman/Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith and state Sen./North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco averted most of the potential election struggles.
“Contrary to what many people expected, we are a united party.” – Steve Gallo
“Mark Smith has worked hard to make sure that we’re united,” Gallo said. “As Democrats, we have a lot in common. We believe we’ll see all our candidates victorious; then it’s on to November. The mayor has a plan, and has worked that plan, and able to assembly a countywide legislative team.”
In your district
However, there are some independents challenging incumbents in the races.
In the 32nd legislative district, which includes Secaucus, North Bergen, Guttenberg, and West New York, the HCDO is supporting incumbent Nicholas Sacco for state Senate, as well as Angelica Maria Jimenez and incumbent Vincent Prieto for state Assembly.
Jeff Boss of Guttenberg is running against Sacco for the Democratic nod.
The Republicans are backing Edward O’Neill for state Senate and Ronald Torallo and Michael Bertolovich for the Assembly.
In the 33rd District – which includes Union City, Weehawken, Hoboken and part of Jersey City – the HCDO is supporting incumbent state Sen. Brian P. Stack and Sean Connors and incumbent Ruben Ramos in the Assembly.
Ravi Bhalla is also running for one of the Assembly seats. He is allied with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
The Republicans are backing Beth Hamburger for state Senate and Frenando Uribe and Christopher Garcia for the Assembly in that district.
In the 31st District, which includes Bayonne and half of Jersey City, independent Democrat Bruce Alston is seeking to unseat HCDO-backed State Sen. Sandra Cunningham. Running for Assembly are Charles Mainor and Jason O’Donnell. The Republicans are backing Donna M. James for state Senate, and Michael Alonso and Daniel Beckelman in the state Assembly.
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise (a Democrat) and Republican Stephen M. DeLuca of Jersey City are both unopposed in their primary races for county executive.
The Democrats have nominated Pamela Gardner of Jersey City for the office of county register. Running unopposed on the Republican line is Edith Jorge of North Bergen.
Of the nine freeholder seats up in the primary, there is only one Republican candidate, and that is in the 9th District, which includes a large part of Secaucus and all of West Hudson. Paul H. Castelli of Kearny is running unopposed on the Republican line, while Democrat Albert J. Cifelli is running unopposed on the Democratic line.
“We decided not to candidates in the other eight freeholder districts,” said Republican Party County Chairman Jose Arango.
Part of the reason is the redistricting of freeholder districts Arango said should have taken place this year. While state and federal legislative districts were restructured for this primary, county lines were allowed to remain as they were, something Arango said he disagrees with.
Election boundaries are required to be modified after each national census to reflect changes in the population. Arango, who is on the community for redistricting freeholder districtsm has proposed radical changes to reflect ethnic and racial concentrations in the county, while the Democratic members of the committee – which includes Smith – have proposed leaving the freeholder districts mostly unchanged from their current makeup, which is largely based on municipal boundaries.
The only contested race is a Democratic primary fight between HCDO-backed incumbent Freeholder Jeff Dublin in District 3 in Jersey City. Arnold B. Williams is seeking the Democratic nomination.
The HCDO is also supporting incumbent Freeholders Doreen McAndrew DiDomenico of Bayonne in District 1, William O’Dea of Jersey City in District 2, Eliu Rivera of Jersey City in District 4, Anthony L. Romano of Hoboken in District 5, Tilo E. Rivas of Union City in District 6, Jose C. Munoz of West New York in District 7, and Thomas F. Liggio of North Bergen in District 8.