HOBOKEN — Hoboken Councilman Ravinder Bhalla announced Tuesday that he has filed a petition to run for Assembly in the 33rd District of New Jersey. The Democratic primary will be held in June. However, Bhalla said in a release that he has not yet made a final decision to seek the Democratic nomination. If he does, he will have an uphill battle to get the nomination, since he'll be running against candidates supported by State Sen. Brian Stack, who is also mayor of Union City.
In each district, there is one state senator and two Assembly representatives.
“At this time I have not made a final decision to seek the Democratic nomination. Over the next several weeks I will be speaking to residents of the 33rd Legislative District about their concerns and based on those conversations I will decide whether or not to run in this year’s primary election," Bhalla said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.
Among those he would be facing is Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Carmelo Garcia, who is running on Stack's ticket. They are running on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line. Jersey City Deputy Mayor Raj Mukherji is also running for Assembly on Stack’s ticket.
Garcia said he plans to keep his job as Hoboken Housing Authority executive director. “I would not commit [to Assembly] unless I knew it would not conflict with my job as executive director," he said.
The HHA is the agency that oversees Hoboken's federally funded housing projects.
Due to a 2012 amendment known as the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012, someone can still run for a public partisan office as long as their salary is not 100 percent federally funded. Garcia said his job is not 100 percent federally funded.
Garcia called the experience of running “very humbling.”
One 33rd District Assembly seat is being vacated by Ruben Ramos Jr., who plans to run for Hoboken mayor this November against Mayor Dawn Zimmer.