Grist for the Mill: HudCo Ultimatum: “Stick” to Freeholder or we’ll run Ruben Ramos


A Stick could get stuck holding the bag.

The Al Sullivan gossip sheet posing as a political column last weekend raised eyebrows quoting Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano saying he’s entertaining pursuing both reelection for freeholder and Hoboken mayor at the same time.

Many US states preclude such a practice but the Soprano State only barred dual elected job holders when Gov. Chris Christie took office and insisted on the reform. Romano says he may run and win both freeholder and Hoboken mayor and he’ll decide among the possible bounty later.

A Hudson County source says the powers that be are not amused and pulling out a rope of the hangman variety. HudCo allegedly demands an end to any further public posturing. If he persists this week, the claim is the rug will be pulled and and they’ll run Fourth Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos in his place.

Sticking it to HudCo? If Freeholder Romano doesn’t stop a dual job
dance saying he may run for freeholder and mayor this fall, the powers
at HudCo are priming Councilman Ruben Ramos in his place.

Last November, Romano held a fundraiser at the Hoboken W Hotel headlined by HCDO officials after NJ Senator Corey Booker refused to attend as his special guest. Three years earlier, Romano ran without HudCo support and won the all critical freeholder spring primary, a feat not imaginable outside of Hoboken in Hudson.

The deadline for Romano to knuckle under is reportedly midweek. Should Romano decide to push back and run against a Councilman Ruben Ramos in the June primary for freeholder, he would likely lose the edge among a base of Hoboken voters choosing between the two. Ramos has better name recognition running a solid mayoral campaign in 2013 and serving previously as Assemblyman.

Over the weekend, the Freeholder tried to push back on recent stories he would strictly be running for reelection and would not face off against Mayor Zimmer come November. That story first reported on MSV last month was later joined by the state’s newest political website InsideNJ last week.

The HudCo source said the county had no interest getting embroiled in Hoboken’s mayoral election this November where Mayor Zimmer will be a favorite to win a third term. Romano further denies any HudCo deal where he would face no primary opposition and in turn not run or endorse against Mayor Zimmer in the fall.

The backdrop to the saber rattling is the continuing efforts to see Councilman Mike DeFusco enter the mayoral race. A discussion seeking mutual endorsements for Romano’s reelection bid with a corresponding endorsement for DeFusco have not fared well to date according to another well-placed source who suggested neither official will admit to it.

One way or another some may be interested in clearing a path for DeFusco’s campaign entry whether local operatives, HudCo or both.

Freeholder Romano declined comment and referred discussion to his campaign manager, Pablo Fonseca. Councilman Ramos and Fonseca were not immediately available for comment.

Whatever does transpire, one thing is clear. The election fun and games have begun.

Grist for the Mill is MSV’s rumor column. Got a tasty carrot for Da Horsey? Send it to All email is kept confidential and is protected by Da Horsey’s proven Reporter Privilege upheld under the NJ Shield Law in Hudson County Superior Court. In farm animals we trust.

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