An emerging cold war mirroring the frigid temperatures last week turned a Thursday night mixer at Carpe Diem into an unofficial political gathering as a number of politicos left their warm domiciles to begin hand pressing and getting their faces in the voters minds before taking on a popular Mayor Zimmer in November.
Two potential mayoral election rivals ignored each other. On one side Assemblyman Ruben Ramos looking for a political job lifeline if the Hudson Reporter column saying he doesn’t have one is true. On the other, the man with no political future if Ramos gets elected mayor in the form of the current seat holder in the fourth ward, Tim Occhipinti.
Even the intimate venue couldn’t warm up the believed mayoral rivals. According to witnesses on the scene, the two had nary a word for the other. “They don’t talk, they hate each other,” one source said matter of fact. “There’s bad blood there,” adding it wasn’t clear when the falling out took place.
Ramos had lent credibility to the Occhipinti campaign during the 2010 fourth ward special election, a risky move when the election results and questionable paper ballots in the hundreds led to voter fraud charges landing in the NJ Attorney General’s Office.
While Occhipinti awaits word from those who pull his strings (and pay the bills) whether he can “move forward” to advance his hoped for political career, Ramos already took the step to take out mayoral petitions with an eye toward cutting off adversaries at the knees becoming the default challenger.
That strategy could backfire as Ramos may also have already decided his at-large council slate. Rumored council candidates include Carpe Diem Thursday night bar visitors, HHA commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez and H-mag’s Joe Mindak with a woman to be named later. The rumored selections have infuriated the Old Guard and Russo clan who want to choose the at-large council candidates. (Michael Russo heard in 2009 on FBI surveillance tape bragging how he choose all three council candidates for Beth Mason’s spring mayoral run is most unhappy he’s been given no say.)
A key decider in the Cold War breaking out between Ramos and Occhipinti is a well known perennial candidate and financial backer in Hoboken elections who’s holding a very large grudge. If he gets behind Occhipinti, it has less to do with love for Timmy and everything to do with dissatisfaction with Ramos.
The frigid weather is breaking but the Cold War between Assemblyman Ruben Ramos and Timmy Occhipinti with a mayoral race heating up could only be beginning.
In 2010, Ruben Ramos (c) was an Occhipinti backer for the fourth ward special election. These days they’re rivals if the icy distance at an intimate bar Thursday is a barometer of cold war mayoral candidates in the making.
Talking Ed Note: Al Sullivan’s weekend column says it’s a four way race for an Assembly seat on State Senator’s Brian Stack’s ticket. Four Hoboken politicos seek the spot, among them Council members Ravi Bhalla, Beth Mason, Michael Russo and NHSA commissioner Frank “Pupie” Raia. MSV confirmed the same information last week which explains Assemblyman Ruben Ramos’ mayoral petition hunt.
With a strong incumbent in Mayor Dawn Zimmer poised to lead her at-large council slate to re-election this November, her embittered anti-reform opposition is looking for a political visa – out of Hoboken.