Schundler said on Aug. 14 that he plans to run, and will make a formal announcement after the November presidential election.
Schundler served as mayor from 1992 to 2001, and parlayed the exposure he received as a Republican in a Democratic stronghold into two unsuccessful runs for the governor's office, in 2001 and 2005.
Some believe his early announcement will push other candidates to announce early that they are running.
So far, three well-known people have said they will run for mayor: Schundler, incumbent Mayor Jerramiah Healy, and downtown Jersey City resident Dan Levin, who runs Civic JC, a group that advocates for good government policies.
Levin announced he would run just last week.
Others rumored to be considering a run are Ward E City Councilman Steven Fulop, former state Assemblyman Louis Manzo, current state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, and former City Council President L. Harvey Smith.
The May 2009 mayoral election will also see all nine council seats up for grabs. Six of those represent specific wards (Ward A through Ward F), and three are at-large seats.
The importance of being early
Schundler said last week that he did not intend to announce a run early, but was replying to a question from a reporter and was just "trying to be honest."
Currently, Schundler teaches at the King's College in Manhattan and still lives in Jersey City with his wife and two teenage children.
He denied that the announcement was a reaction to the recent attention given to Fulop, an up-and-coming leader, for his referenda meant to reform city government. Fulop has pushed for two initiatives to be on November's ballot: one curtailing campaign donations from professional service contractors, and one restricting City Council members from collecting second pensions and salaries if they are working in another taxpayer-funded public job (see cover story). For legal reasons, only the first initiative is likely to be on the ballot this year.
Schundler said his announcement is not a "big deal" since he has already had mentioned it several times this year. He also said he did not think his announcement would have much of an impact upon other possible mayoral candidates.
Fulop said last week that he is still not sure whether he will run for mayor or to keep his City Council seat again. He said he has not set a date on when he will announce a run for a city office. He has been working on getting his referenda onto the ballot in November.
Fulop said Schundler's announcement has no impact on his decision, adding that his goal is to "move forward and not go back to the 1990s."
Manzo said those who should be announcing early are first-time candidates.
"New people have to get out there early in order to introduce themselves to the public and build a coalition of supporters as well as a council slate," Manzo said. Manzo and Cunningham
Manzo said he will probably not declare whether he is running for mayor until sometime in November. Manzo admitted that he is waiting until Cunningham makes an announcement, which is rumored to take place after the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver ends next week.
"My reason for waiting for her was because I did polling on those candidates running in the mayor's race, and I found she would win it if she ran," Manzo said.
Cunningham said she has not given any thought of running for mayor and is just thinking about being a delegate for Barack Obama at the presidential convention. She also said she has no plans to make any announcement after the convention or in the near future.
Agreeing with Manzo's comment about first-time candidates is Levin, a first-time mayoral candidate and twelve-year resident who lives with his wife and two children.
"By announcing early, I have time to form an organization that will help me campaign," Levin said.
Levin also said he is announcing early since candidates like him will need several months to collect signatures to get on the mayoral ballot. More than just announcing
According to City Clerk Robert Byrne, the amount of signatures needed depends on this November's election. Candidates will have to collect the amount of signatures equivalent to 1 percent of the registered voters in Jersey City registered as of November.
That standard also applies to those candidates running for at-large council seats, but those running for ward council seats will have to collect of signatures equivalent to 1 percent of registered voters in those wards in November.
Byrne is also encouraging candidates to pick up their petitions early. He said he will have them available in his office in City Hall in late fall or early winter, as he sees a large number of people running for mayor and city council for the 2009 election.
He also plans to hold meetings with the candidates to inform them of their responsibilities as candidates. Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org