The pervasive question for months has been whether or not Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop could win a citywide election, especially as a precursor to his own bid for mayor in 2013.
Known for his strength in Ward E, which he has represented for two terms, Fulop has been building a city-wide campaign organization for several years, and over time, has extended his reach.
But many people think that the perceived union between State Sen. Sandra Cunningham and Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy might be too much for Fulop to overcome, especially if Healy – who claims to be running for reelection – can once more generate campaign funds at the rate he did in previous elections.
If Fulop has a weakness, it is a lack of significant presence in the African-American community, and it has been assumed that the only real way to obtain a mayoral seat was to come to some understanding with Cunningham.
But the decisive victory of candidates he supported in Tuesday’s school board election showed how much progress his organization has made in nearly every part of the city, defeating candidates backed by Healy so decisively that Fulop might well be able to win the mayoralty even if Cunningham stays with Healy – a questionable position – for the 2013 municipal election.
An elated Fulop sent out his victory comments via email.
“When the Jersey City political establishment told us we would be lucky if we won one of the three Board of Ed seats tonight, our team and you shrugged it off, knowing residents are smarter than pundits,” he said. “When the newspapers said that only one demographic or geographic region of the city would support the ‘Parents For Progress’ ticket, our team forged ahead, believing government that puts residents first has no borders.”
Troyer dumped from Secaucus school board seat
School Trustee Tom Troyer knew that he had a tough road to travel when teachers, parents, the school union and even the mayor of Secaucus were against him.
A former member of the Secaucus Housing Authority, Troyer hoped that he could offset his unpopularity with very motivated groups against him by tapping the senior citizen vote.
The strategy did not work. His defense of an unpopular superintendent of schools and his public conflicts with Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli spelled his doom this week as voters gave the nod to two newcomers, including the former head of the teacher’s union.
“I’m not going away, I’m just switching sides of the table,” said Troyer, who has a history of attending meetings as an outspoken critic when he is not serving on a governmental body.
But he conceded that the election will likely mean the replacing of the school superintendent.
Battle for congressional seat in Hudson County
Two weeks ago, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, who serves as chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, officially endorsed Nia Gill as the preferred Democratic candidate to fill the unexpired term of recently deceased Rep. Donald Payne Sr. and serve as the Democratic candidate in the November election to fill the seat after Payne’s term ends on Dec. 31.
Although primarily located in Essex County, the 10th congressional seat has gained larger chunks of Jersey City and Bayonne as a result of the recent redistricting.
The HCDO’s endorsement of Gill for the seat has raised some questions about the behind-the-scenes manipulation by people such as Union County State Sen. Ray Lesniak, who appears to have orchestrated the move.
Some see this as a political blunder by the HCDO, because one of the Democratic contenders for the seat is Donald Payne’s son, Donald Payne Jr., who many believe should have gotten first consideration.
His team will apparently be taking a poll shortly to test the viability of taking the seat, despite the lineup of political power brokers behind Gill.
Not to be overlooked is Newark Councilman Ronald C. Rice, who is also seeking the seat, as well as a handful of lesser known Democrats, all of whom might make the race tighter than the power-brokers want.
Sacco gets his ducks in order
With West New York redistricted into the 32nd District under State Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, it almost makes sense that Sacco would seek to replace those committee people most loyal to State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack – in whose district West New York existed under the old configuration.
But in a county where mayors are supposed to have the ultimate say in their communities, West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque must feel like a forgotten stepchild after HCDO chairman Smith rejected 58 names for committee people submitted by Roque.
While the committee people can still run, they will not get the ever-so-sought-after A line on the ballot, which will have President Barack Obama at the top.
You have to wonder what happened to the lottery system that was brought about by a legal challenge about ten years ago, when then Bayonne Councilman Anthony Chiappone was running for state Assembly.
Committee people are hugely important because it is the committee that votes to raise and spend campaign funds and nominate candidates.
For Sacco, having an army of potential enemies in his own back yard is not acceptable, but neither is imposing unwanted committee people onto the mayor of a sovereign municipality.