Although the Democratic machine was expected to do some heavy lifting for Hillary Clinton in the New Jersey Democratic Primary on June 7, the real challenge will come in November when voters will likely have to choose between her and Republican candidate, Donald Trump.
“New Jersey will be in play,” said one Hudson County Democrat who will be supporting Trump.
National polls unveiled at the end of May showed Clinton with a 4 percent lead. This, however, is considered a dead heat. Most national observers believe the race for president will be decided in three states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. If Clinton loses New Jersey, however, most believe she won’t become president.
As in most presidential elections, Democratic hopes rest heavily on Hudson County. While not quite the powerhouse it was under former political boss Frank Hague, Hudson County still accounts for a sizable chunk of the Democratic vote. Clinton has the support of people like U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Rep. Albio Sires, and others. But she can’t count on many of the Democrats once known as Reagan Democrats.
Some locals believe places like Kearny, Bayonne, and Secaucus will swing sharply to the right and will help offset the Democratic turnout in places like Jersey City.
Polls show both Clinton and Trump have heavy negatives. People simply don’t like either candidate. Some Democratic voters may simply sit this election out.
This hasn’t stopped Clinton from making the rounds in New Jersey in the company of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker to raise money. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, also made a stop to collect money for the common cause.
For the first time in recent history, voters in New Jersey get to vote before the Democratic candidate has already wrapped it up. This will put supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic runner up, in an awful fix this fall. They will be forced to decide between Clinton and Trump in November, a real-life example of being caught between a rock and a hard place.
Is someone using the Hoboken bloggers in a stealth campaign?
Some heavy duty statewide political people were very puzzled as to why they suddenly got emails from at least one Hoboken political blogger concerning an upcoming fundraiser to be held by former Councilwoman Beth Mason for State Senate President Stephen Sweeney.
And they were further puzzled as to why the bloggers got the address wrong of where the event will be taking place.
People who’ve received invitations to the event say it states that Mason will be holding the fundraiser at her home in Hoboken. But the attack bloggers claimed she would be using the office of her not-for-profit organization. (The bloggers have made claims against Mason for years and support her political opponent, Mayor Dawn Zimmer.)
While misinformation is typical of blogs in general – as they often fail to call people on both sides of an issue and don’t always do research before posting – the fact that they had access to so many emails of state-level bigwigs and their private contacts suggests that something else may be going on this time. Some believe the bloggers gained access Mayor Steven Fulop’s political mailing list in order to do damage to Sweeney and Mason.
Why would this happen? The reason for the stealth campaign against Sweeney may be explained by a recent university poll that showed Sweeney with more than twice as much name-recognition as Fulop throughout the state. While this doesn’t translate into votes, and will certainly change once the election machinery gets into gear for the gubernatorial primary in 2017, it clearly shows that Jersey City is not the center of the universe. Fulop will have to rely on a lot more than a few bloggers to make his case.
The location of the fundraiser in the heart of Hoboken basically says that Fulop can’t count completely on local support for his run in the Democratic Primary in 2017 for governor. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer appears to be leaning toward Phil Murphy, not Fulop. It is unclear who state Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack will support.
Sweeney’s relationship with state Sen. Sandra Cunningham in Jersey City also poses a problem for Fulop, since she can draw votes away from him.
Filtering damaging information about potential political rivals through bloggers is nothing new. In Hoboken, in fact, it is a way of life. But when the bloggers get the facts wrong, the whole situation could backfire on Fulop.
Not so much about the choice as about the process of selecting a Ward B replacement
Replacing Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal has become a political battleground in Jersey City, even though nearly everybody likes John Hallanan who Fulop nominated.
Ramchal agreed to resign as part of a plea deal to avoid jail time from charges related to a car accident in March, 2015.
The conflict over his replacement is more about a power struggle between maverick council members and the mayor over who should make the nominations.
Councilman Richard Boggiano believes the mayor should not be the one nominating potential candidates, leaving the matter in the hands of the City Council.
Fulop’s endorsement, however, sent a clear message to those council members aligned with him.
Recall movement in Bayonne may be about egos
In modern times, Hudson County has seen only two successful recall elections, one in North Bergen decades ago, and one in West New York – and in West New York, voters reelected the same man they voted to recall.
Most recall movements fall flat on their face. Most often, the movements fail to get the necessary number of signatures.
This is a huge problem, since the law was changed a few years ago that required petitioners to get a percentage of the total vote cast in the last national election to getting a percentage of all registered voters, regardless of whether they voted or not.
A number local political observers believe the attempt to recall Mayor James Davis in Bayonne has been a gross miscalculation.
“If they had put their efforts in winning committee seats, they could win with only a few votes,” one observer said.
Republicans and Democrats must vote for committee members at each year’s primary in June. While Bayonne municipal elections are non-partisan, Democratic and Republican committees have a lot of clout and often influence the selection of candidates for county, state, and federal seats. This clout often can be used to build support for potential mayoral and council candidates, by providing workers and other benefits.
Many believe that the recall movement against Davis and two councilmen is based on anger at the administration.
“This is something similar to the rage that is behind Donald Trump,” one observer said. “If these people tapped into Trump’s support, they could control the parties in Bayonne.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.