Hey, everybody, Jerramiah Healy is running for mayor again.
What do you mean, what do I mean? Shouldn’t somebody, somewhere be applauding? Instead, you’re standing there with your mouths agape.
It can’t be that much of a shock. It was less a shock for most people than a disappointment. Many thought Merry Jerry would bow out gracefully. But then, when did that ever happen?
Certainly not when he was arrested in that bar down the shore? Besides, Healy has no place else to go, no legal career that he wants to pursue, no happy retirement village where he can lounge around or play golf.
The most repeated question we’ve heard about the announcement was, “Is he serious?”
Most agree that Healy can’t be reelected, but that the move is likely part of a backup plan of his own to keep his arch enemy, Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop, from running unchallenged.
Although reports suggest that state Sen. Sandra Cunningham may take the plunge and attempt to reclaim the mayor’s seat her deceased husband won in 2001, some believe she is only posturing. They have set up alternative plans just in case she decides she likes her comfortable, safe state Senate seat better than the seat Healy occupies.
Behind the scenes, recently elected state Assemblyman Sean Connors is being groomed at a potential mayoral candidate, pitting his base in the Heights against Fulop’s base downtown.
The election will be held in May of 2013.
Dwek left vacancies
The problem for most of the potential mayoral candidates is that the federal arrests as a result of the FBI Solomon Dwek sting in 2009 has depleted the pool of possible candidates for City Council, and no matter who is running for mayor, he or she will have a tough time filling a full slate.
Cunningham, with her host of allies, actually has the best shot, if she can talk at-large council members Viola Richardson and Rolando R. Lavarro Jr. into joining her ticket. In this case, she might lure Connors away from his own mayoral bid and to an at-large ticket. As a possible ally of Freeholder Bill O’Dea, she can then rely on help filling out her ticket from other parts of Jersey City.
There is a rumor that Jerry Walker might be tapped if Cunningham declines to run, but not a likely scenario.
Fulop, on the other hand, would need to make a deal with other powers such as County Executive Tom DeGise, state Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, and Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith – chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization – to build his ticket.
The Dwek ticket, anyone?
It is possible that Hudson County could see a ticket made up of candidates who were falsely accused in the Dwek investigation.
The recent legal victory by former Assemblyman Louis Manzo proved a valuable point in regards to the Dwek charges: if they’d had enough money to pay the vast legal bills associated with putting on adequate defense, some of those charged in the original case may have beaten the rap. The problem for some is that they had to choose between maintaining their innocence and losing all their worldly possessions.
Meanwhile, Manzo has a new life. Like former Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, who was also found innocent of charges brought against him, he will figure in the political scene someway, either as a candidate or as a financial and political supporter of other candidates.
Manzo and L. Harvey Smith will have an impact somewhere and something to prove. The question is: will L. Harvey Smith run for mayor? And if Manzo runs, to which seat will he aspire?
Stack could pick a new running mate for Assembly
Where state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack fits into all of this remains a mystery since his district currently includes more of Jersey City this year due to redistricting.
Stack may be shopping around for another Assembly runningmate to replace Assemblyman Ruben Ramos. Ramos may or may not run for reelection in 2013, or may or may not run for mayor of Hoboken, or may or may not run against Rep. Albio Sires for a House of Representatives seat.
Some suggest that Hoboken 2nd Ward councilwoman Beth Mason might be considered for the Assembly slot, partly because she is a Hoboken resident and fills the shoes Ramos is being forced out of, and partly because she brings personal finance and name recognition to the campaign. Others believe that Stack may secure better relations with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer by tapping her ally, Hoboken Council President Ravi Bhalla, as a running mate.
Trouble in paradise?
Stack’s neighbor in North Hudson, West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque, apparently set off a firestorm with his endorsement of Republican state Senator Joe Kyrillos against U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in U.S. Senate race in the November.
This choice has put him at odds with some of his strongest supporters, in particular, Rep Sires – who is supporting Menendez – and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.
The problem is that “the Colonel,” as some people refer to Dr. Roque, appears to be seeking a loyalty test among his own people, including Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez, a former Sires staff member.
Rodriquez was the final piece in a successful coalition that defeated former Mayor Sal Vega last year, and it seems that Dr. Roque may have forgotten this fact in his quest to maintain perfect order in West New York. What he may end up with is a rival candidate for mayor three years from now as many of the people who supported him support someone else – perhaps Rodriguez – against him.