Dan Levin’s decision to run for the Ward E City Council seat in Jersey City, on the ticket led by Mayor Jerramiah Healy, has Hudson County abuzz, not only because the former rivals in the last mayoral election appear to be such an odd couple, but also because Levin may have enough clout to win the seat in the heart of Councilman Steven Fulop’s power base.
Fulop, who currently holds that seat, is running against Healy for mayor, and it was presumed that he could carry any candidate into that seat simply through his personal popularity in Ward E. But now some people aren’t so certain, partly because Levin could drain votes Fulop needs to make up pro-Healy votes elsewhere in the city. This is assuming that those who vote for Levin will also vote for Healy.
Although a shock, Levin’s decision to run with Healy isn’t sending the Fulop camp into a panic. Still, it points to a weakness in the Fulop ticket that Healy clearly wants to exploit. Fulop doesn’t have a lot of well-known candidates on his ticket yet, people who have their own power base who will bring votes to Fulop, rather than relying on Fulop to carry them.
This could change over the next few weeks or months, but for now, Healy appears to have struck a significant political blow.
Some see the Ward F special election in November as a warmup for the mayoral election, and though not openly supporting anybody, the Fulop camp appears to be backing Diane Coleman in a field of four candidates. This will at least keep Fulop’s election team geared up and ready to launch his mayoral campaign later this year – at which time we will finally get to see what his ticket looks like.
Feeding frenzy at Sacco’s expense?
The craziness continued last week in North Bergen when Janice Zorovich, a critic of State Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, was led out of the Board of Commissioners meeting in handcuffs. Critics of the administration have become emboldened after statements by former DPW superintendent James Wiley claiming he’s been ordered to do political work around the county while being paid by the city.
North Bergen has become a target of other political figures such as Gwen Diakos, who is running against U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in the fall.
Although there are rumors of cross-border feuds between Sacco and state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack, the Wiley situation seems to have brought out homegrown critics, who see this as a possible crack in the otherwise previously invincible political wall around Sacco.
Some are even hopeful that they can rely on Republican Gov. Christopher Christie’s aid next year when Christie runs for reelection. It would be to his advantage to keep Hudson County Democrats fighting each other.
This is what also fuels the rumors that Stack may launch another political civil war in the spring in order to keep Democrats unsettled for Christie’s fall campaign.
Hoboken bloggers, who face a lawsuit for postings they did over the last year, still have hope that the case may not see the light of day. One of the defendants, Roman Brice, has yet to be served. And while some claim he’s been ducking service, apparently the court approved serving him by mail, and this has yet to done.
They hope the key to the case rests on whether they can prove that Lane Bajardi and his wife are “political operatives,” allowing published criticism a wider latitude than would be the case if they were considered private citizens.
With two referendum questions on the ballot, opponents of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer pretty much concede they cannot halt the effort to move the 2013 municipal election to November. But they are fighting hard against eliminating the runoff elections. Zimmer would benefit most from the lack of a runoff, if reports are true that both Assemblyman Ruben Ramos and former school trustee Frank Raia may oppose her for mayor next year.
Zimmer’s argument – that the president and governor do not have runoff elections – doesn’t take into account that they and other elected officials who run in November have already run in party primaries in June. She also claims that the winner of the nonpartisan May election historically wins the runoff anyway, forgetting that when she ran for the 4th Ward council seat against Chris Campos, she came in second but later won the runoff.
Zimmer, who will probably be unbeatable when she runs next year, may not be able to carry her at-large council candidates with her, since historically they have rarely gotten more than the 50 percent they need to avoid runoff elections.
A different question on the ballot will decide the fate of rent control, which is also on the ballot in Bayonne.
An election that is not yet an election
With many political people waiting for West New York Mayor Felix Roque to resign, the campaign for his seat seems more than a little surreal. Commissioner Count Wiley has launched a serious campaign, spending money and resources in order to establish himself early in a race he sees will be against fellow Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez.
Can Wiley succeed in the recall when so many political people have failed in the past?
Most of the political opportunists are gambling that Roque will step down and leave the question moot. Some who know Roque believe he won’t step down unless convicted, and then won’t surrender the office until they drag him out.
Wiley meanwhile has engaged the very capable talents of controversial former Secaucus Town Administrator Anthony Iacono.
“He’s a real capable guy,” Wiley said.