Hoboken elections, peace in our time?

There’s two major offices up for election this year in the Mile Square City. First, the county freeholder seat with a critical June Democrat Primary and then the mayor’s seat in November. Based on MSV’s exclusive investigative report, the paths of the two senior elected officials are not likely to meet in any head to head face-off.

Some suggest it’s an unofficial but higher power, re: HudCo organized nonaggression pact while others say it’s a more Vulcan-like mind meld of the minds to take the more scenic road less traveled.

Current incumbent Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano is gearing up for his re-election bid for another three year term. His endless campaign after his last successful re-election saw the county freeholder appear the default Old Guard candidate in a mayoral bid this year.

To many observers, Romano’s bid for mayor seemed inevitable as he slogged his way through every conceivable photo op in Hoboken and his Facebook supporters foreshadowed, “Stick is everywhere.” His early retirement at the Hoboken Police Department lent some motivation as he felt corralled by Mayor Zimmer’s police reorganization plan. His brief tenure as a captain eyed a shot at police chief but the reorg forced his hand and he chose retirement. From the county freeholder position, he bidded his time and a chance at payback.

Late last year, MSV reported in premium an armada of political operatives were lined up to work for Romano and one, Pablo Fonseca, connected to former Newark mayor and NJ Senator Corey Booker was slated to be among his new army. Another campaign manager type expected to get on board included Ryan Yacco who headed the 2011 council campaign for the odious Beth Mason.

Fonseca was plugged in and given a taste of earnings through the Board of Education slate Parents United campaign last fall. Romano worked heavily the past two years to replace the reform oriented ‘Kids First’ majority on the BoE. The failures didn’t make for a stronger stomach to take on the mayoral incumbent leaving a motley minority of three rudderless on the BoE.

With heavy campaign artillery lined up, it looked like the order to “fire” on the second floor of City Hall was about to commence in 2017 even with a crushing beat down sweep on the BoE.  Previously, Romano lined up with big developer interests appearing as a guest speaker before the 2015 council races at a seminar sponsored by MSTA.  Seeing MSV in attendance, Romano went off his usual polite public script urging the attendees, “Don’t read the blogs,” code for MSV and Grafix Avenger. The latter satirical Mile Square website drives Old Guard candidates into a tizzy with her sharp-witted graphics.

Stick reportedly was incensed being depicted as a ballerina wearing a tutu for avoiding sticky questions on a former BoE employee who suffered from online transgender confusion persona.  It’s all rather vexing and confusing. Stick was rather vexed and the former Hoboken ‘educator’ flying roundtrip via Austin, Texas too.

Back to the focus of the 2017 elections, earlier scuttlebutt said Romano would pursue both Freeholder and mayor. Those rumors have fallen by the wayside as nothing but a smokescreen if not legally available. While the intention seemed to buy time and gear up a war chest to take on the incumbent mayor, the wheels have fallen off.

Each elected official appears to have retreated to their respective corners awaiting other uncertainties. First and foremost: who will emerge to oppose Mayor Zimmer’s third term bid?

Councilman Mike Defusco is now the spinning top circling the Mile Square. While his February fundraiser was mistakenly scheduled on the same date as an earlier one planned by Councilman Ravi Bhalla (slated for a third consecutive term as an at-large councilman on the mayor’s ticket); Defusco’s plans to have a big name atop in Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop were derailed.

Lots of hasty meetings have followed for the councilman, from the Malibu Diner uptown to downtown in his home base of the first ward and all points in-between. Is that Peter Cammarano’s ghost floating behind or the spirit of former freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons?

In an exclusive interview last week, Romano shed some light on his electoral future and dismissed other rumors connecting him to would be challengers of Mayor Zimmer.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano won’t be competing for the mayor’s chair after all.
Before that November race, there’s no one backed by the mayor to take on Romano in the June Democratic primary.
City Hall sources expressed confidence in the mayor’s third term bid no matter who she faces.
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