Grist for the Mill: If you can’t beat’em, bully’em

The four top tier mayoral campaigns are in the throes of the dog days of August but it doesn’t mean there’s no muscle being exerted on the campaign trail.

As Hoboken sleepily moves through the summer, mayoral campaign aspirants are engaging in hand to hand combat, online and out on the streets of the Mile Square City.

One pro-DeFusco commenter here brazenly announced the impending death of the Stick Romano campaign this week. That foolish prediction piled on by defending Councilman Mike DeFusco’s stabbing Mayor Zimmer in the back with the excuse she asked for it. Let’s say neither is true and put that commenter out of their misery before they begin plans on how to operate on the hinter regions of farm animals.

The Romano for Mayor campaign can be expected to make some major moves this week. Anticipate news on the council at-large slate. Currently, Romano has one uptown girl who is unknown to the Hoboken electorate who is New Orleans born and bred. The political hook isn’t Hoboken but apparently Jersey City. Council at-large candidate Laini Hammond is apparently friends with Steve Fulop’s lovely wife Jacklyn.

Councilman Mike DeFusco came loaded for bear at the only August City Council meeting. He brought some props with an oversized photo of Court Street and pointed out the fallacy of putting in any number of changes proposed on the wish list by the mayor’s administration. The props were a bit Monty Hall, ala Let’s Make a Deal but the apparent coaching DeFusco is getting from his team is making for a far better presentation. He’s improved in vocalizing better arguments than at past meetings. Will it make breaking his word in running against Mayor Zimmer forgivable? That’s for the Hoboken electorate to sort out. Yes, it was a promise broken and Team Zimmer isn’t forgetting.

The push-pull reform rivalry is taking shape and it will come to no surprise by readers here the early signs of partisanship are echoing from those tools used in the revamped Hoboken Democratic Committee to the streets. When a newly elected member of the HDC contacted Tiffanie Fisher to say he preferred corrupt Democrats (actually Democrat felons like a Peter Cammarano) over seeing any local Republican elected in Hoboken’s nonpartisan municipal election, there wasn’t exactly a rush of condemnation out of the Bhalla for mayor campaign. The intent then was to keep City Council President Jen Giattino from entering the mayoral race. Some say Mayor Dawn Zimmer circulated that ugly email is tantamount to a declaration of ignorance and war on the big tent of Reform. Et tu, Dawn?

When the tepid arguments pointing to the Bhalla campaign’s push poll deployed soon after Mayor Zimmer’s withdrawal don’t generate voter enthusiasm, the fallback position appears to attack Jen Giattino, a liberal Republican who sought being a delegate for John Kasich. The attack isn’t on any of her positions on local issues for the past six years as a three time and current City Council President. It’s a shrill message appealing to party partisanship. One Giattino supporter who also backed Bernie Sanders last year for President was questioned by a Bhalla for mayor campaigner if they were aware of her party registration. The supporter acknowledged it but refused to yield an inch in supporting Jen Giattino for mayor. As a registered Democrat in Hoboken, they’re not alone.

Kurt Gardiner with Mayor Dawn Zimmer and his Democratic Committee
running mate Bindya Bhalla, wife of Councilman Ravi Bhalla.

Kurt Gardiner, a North Hudson Sewerage Authority commissioner, Sargent at Arms of the Hoboken Democratic Committee and long time Reform backer in Hoboken who was the editor of the Hoboken Journal predicts trouble on this front for the Bhalla for mayor campaign.

On Facebook, Gardiner who is running as an independent city council candidate recently wrote, “As far as following my lead in supporting Jen for Mayor, I saw 80-85% or so support for Jen coming from Democrats at her kickoff and Ravi’s team and their partisan attack strategy may peel away some votes but is largely going to backfire.”

Expect other local prominent Democrats other than Kurt Gardiner and Hoboken Democratic Committee Chair Tiffanie Fisher to come out publicly supporting Jen Giattino for mayor.

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