Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and several of her close associates are very concerned about overcrowding at the election polls in the second district of the 4th Ward – as they should be. With as many as 1,400 people coming there to vote, it is clearly necessary that new districts be created.
The question is: who decides how to carve up 4-2, and just what difference does it make?
The 4th Ward is one of the hybrids where newcomers, project dwellers, and the Old Guard share different portions.
Zimmer ally Michael Lenz was defeated in a 2010 special council election partly because of the ability of Tim Occhipinti to get out the projects and the old guard in that district.
Apparently unaware that the county Board of Elections was already looking to split the 4th Ward’s second district, Zimmer and close allies filed suit to have the second district split into three districts, creating two new districts and two new polling places.
But more importantly, it creates four new committee seats for Republican and Democrats, and since Zimmer lost control of the Hoboken Democratic committee last June by a handful of votes, control over where these district lines are drawn could mean control of the committee when they reorganize again this June.
The suit could bring the court into the process of deciding those lines in favor of Zimmer, by creating new districts in which the predominant population is made up of newcomers, rather than leaving the decision up to a county board that some Zimmer supporters believe has too close a tie to the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
These local committees – Democrat and Republican – usually make a lot of decisions affecting candidate selection and aid in getting out the vote. But more importantly, they raise money.
Taking control of the Democratic committee this June is hugely important because the committee elected in June will still be in place the following May when Zimmer and the three at-large council people come up for election. In the past, some candidates have used the Democratic committee as an election resource, even though the purpose of a May election is to keep political parties from influencing local elections.
Zimmer will be tough to beat
Many believe that Zimmer will be hard to beat in the May 2013 election.
Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. is the person who many believe will attempt to unseat Zimmer. Since a candidate cannot run for two elected offices in the same election cycle, Ramos would have to give up his seat on the Assembly. One theory being circulated is that Ramos would run for mayor and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason would run for the Assembly seat he vacated, with the support of the HCDO. This is the seat that Council President Ravi Bhalla, a Zimmer ally, ran for unsuccessfully last year in a primary against Ramos.
But Ramos might decide to stay right where he is. If he does run for mayor, Mason might decide stay as 2nd Ward councilperson. Opponents to Zimmer may seek to target particular council candidates instead of Zimmer, and see Bhalla and Carol Marsh as vulnerable.
Stack may be forced to run off Democratic line
State Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack is one of the few people in Hudson County who can run for election as a Democrat without the blessing of the HCDO and without being on the Democratic line on the ballot. If reports are true, he might have to do so when he seeks reelection to the state Senate in 2013.
The question is: who will the HCDO put up against him? While some believe newly-elected Assemblyman Sean Connors might run, most believe it is too soon for him. Some have suggested Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, who was cut out of the 32nd District with last year’s redistricting, but could face off against Stack in the 33rd.
Is she or isn’t she?
Reports indicate that State Sen. Sandra Cunningham has put together a committee to explore the idea of running for mayor of Jersey City. Sources close to the situation say that state Sen. Ray Lesniak and Elnardo Webster Cory Booker – are both on this committee and encouraging her to make the run.
Although Lesniak formerly supported Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop, this relationship has been dissolved in favor of Cunningham, who has the ability to fundraise and match Fulop’s ample political war chest dollar for dollar.
It’s war in Secaucus Board of Education election
Partly in reaction to an unpopular schools superintendent, Robert Anderson said he intends to resign as teachers’ union president and run for the Secaucus Board of Education in April. Board of Education member Tom Troyer, a staunch defender of the superintendent, welcomed the challenge.
This comes after the teachers’ union in Secaucus cast a second vote of no-confidence in the superintendent.