The Ruben Ramos campaign for mayor of Hoboken appears to have received a number of early birthday gifts. Born in December, the July election account shows $67,000, most of which came from out of state donors. While only the already most faithful to his campaign appear to have shown up for the Ramos fundraiser this week, the boost in financing could alter the tone of the election.
Some critics of Ramos claim he’s been too laid back in his campaign. Traditionally, candidates wait until September to put their campaigns in gear, but this year – with a U.S. Senatorial primary in August, a special election in October, and gubernatorial, school board and municipal election in November, some believe Ramos should be more active now.
Some believe the cure for Ramos’s allegedly low poll numbers is an infusion of aggressive literature, raising the temperature of the campaign.
Since this is the first November municipal election, Ramos’ campaign may have been put off stride. His opponent, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, by successfully lobbying to move the election from May to November, managed to shorten the election cycle that could have been several months longer had it remained in May.
Some Ramos supporters believe that if he does not act now, and become much more aggressive over the summer, his message will get lost in the forest of rhetoric generated by the other campaigns.
Worse still for Ramos is the fact that a third ticket is still possible (some say likely) and this will split the anti-Zimmer vote and assure Zimmer of victory over Ramos.
The theory behind a third ticket is that one or more of the City Council candidates can still win council elections, and thus wrestle control of the council from Zimmer.
At this point, with Jim Doyle’s nomination to the council voided by the courts, the council is equally divided 4-4 between pro-Zimmer and anti-Zimmer council members. The third ticket backed by former schools trustee Frank Raia would likely include Raia, Democratic Chairman Jamie Cryan, and a female candidate, possible Kimberly Glatt. If any one of these gets elected to the council, they could become the deciding vote on key issues. Theoretically, Zimmer could win as mayor and lose control of the council. One big question will be who Councilwoman Beth Mason supports.
Will WNY see an elected school board?
The campaign to establish an elected school board in West New York seems to have the best chance of three political movements currently going on in the city.
People have been on the street gathering signatures to recall Mayor Felix Roque, to change to an elected school board, and to change the form of government to mayor/council. West New York has a commissioner form, and voters do not have a chance to vote directly for mayor, a position filled from among the elected commissioners.
Although this column reported last week stagnation in the move to recall Mayor Roque, Commissioner Count Wiley says the recall is alive and well.
He said he believes voters are dissatisfied by the leadership of Roque and would vote him out even if Roque gets through his current legal difficulties. Roque and his son have been charged by the feds with hacking into the website of political opponents or conspiring in that effort. Some believe Roque could beat the rap.
Meanwhile Wiley has had words with Richard Rivera, Roque’s appointment to head the West New York Parking Authority. Rivera claimed publicly that the state Attorney General’s office is investigating Wiley (Wiley said this wasn’t true), while Wiley publicly has accused Rivera of secretly recording political opponents and others.
But this fad of secretly recording conversations seems to be taken hold in other parts of the county, especially in Hoboken. People may soon start hugging each other, not out of love or friendship, but because they want to check for wires. This differs from Bid Rig III or any legitimate law enforcement effort. This is straight out political spying, the kind of which has friends taping even friends, and has the potential to make enemies out of former allies.
Bayonne race is heating up
Councilman Ray Greaves has apparently met with Tom Bartoli, a top aide for Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, in the hopes of winning Fulop support for a mayoral election in Bayonne.
Fulop is apparently angered over Bayonne Mark Smith’s support for ousted mayor Jerramiah Healy in the Jersey City election, and is rumored to want to support someone against Smith as well as Smith ally Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell.
A Greaves ticket could include Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico, Police Captain Jimmy Davis and even former Councilman Gary LaPelusa, the man Greaves beat in the municipal election three and a half years ago.
Smith has filed to run, but some believe that he and O’Donnell are pushing Councilman Joe Hurley into the race. Some believe Davis will run at the top of the ticket. Still others believe that Davis could replace O’Donnell as public safety director if Greaves becomes mayor.
This is very early in the political season for a May 2014 election. Most tickets tend to come together in November or December.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.