Ravi Russo Alliance deal prevails, Michael Russo sees deal with Ravi Bhalla stick!


Hoboken November City Council Ballot proves Councilman Michael Russo right

Fifth ward to see the most intense battle with three candidates vying toward a runoff

The deadline for submitting yesterday’s petitions to get on the ballot in November’s nonpartisan City Council ward races is officially over. Depending on your point of view, there’s some good news and some bad news.

The good news if you support Councilman Michael Russo’s re-election bid. His predicted deal months earlier with Mayor Ravi Bhalla not to have a candidate oppose him on his mayoral ticket stuck.

Despite earlier meek protestations from the out-of-state Bhalla campaign spokesman, there wasn’t going to be any potential candidate sought and identified to go up against Russo. Months ago, exclusively reported Michael Russo was quite pleased about his deal with Ravi Bhalla and he wondered why other City Council incumbents didn’t cut a similar one.

Well, some were coaxed with Ravi Bhalla seeing the error of overwrought egoism before naming a “B Team” council ticket. He sought to rebuild City Council ties to colleagues he worked with for close to a decade. Too much dirty pool, broken promises and Ravi Botchulism under the bridge, damage done.

As one prominent reporter from a major news daily observed of Ravi Bhalla and his mayor’s office staff observed last summer, “Everything with them is scorched earth.”

There’s more by way of bad news for Ravi Bhalla in the fifth ward and the agita there will be major. Three serious council contenders are vying to fill the open seat of the departing Councilman Peter Cunningham. The likelihood of a runoff is high, far more than in 2011 when a group of candidates tried to unseat the Reform statesman.

So the preliminaries are over and the menu is unofficially set for November. Here are the match-ups.

First Ward
Councilman Mike DeFusco
Migdalia Pagan-Milano

Second Ward
Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher
 Nora Martinez DeBenedetto

Third Ward
Councilman Michael Russo
 Ron Bautista

Fourth Ward
Councilman Ruben Ramos
Lisa Sprengle

Fifth Ward
Nicola Maganuco
Phil Cohen
Tim Crowell

Sixth Ward
Councilwoman Jen Giattino
Cristin Cricco-Powell
Frank Rosner
Councilman Michael Russo has reason to be happy.  His deal with Mayor Ravi Bhalla months ago not to have
an opposition candidate in November held up. Instead, Russo faces nominal opponent Ron Bautista.

Talking Ed Note: As in past years, continues its longstanding policy giving Hoboken officeholders and candidates opportunity to have their voice heard in the Mile Square City without editorial comment. The Ravi Bhalla Hoboken Mayor’s Office ended this decade long tradition by refusing to answer any simple question posed. Worse, attempts by Ravi Bhalla’s taxpayer-paid political mouthpiece and fellow travelers to posit comic satire as racial bias speaks to their lack of decency to hold elected office and the public trust.

Others who have voted for Ravi Bhalla multiple times for elected office in the past as this editor may feel a similar distaste but I digress. Official releases can be sent to

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