Hoboken’s Zimmer, DeFusco, Cunningham reflect on council victories

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After a solid showing at the polls, Hudson County View caught up with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Ward 1 Council-elect Mike DeFusco and re-elected Ward 5 Councilman Peter Cunningham.

Zimmer, who saw four of her five endorsed council candidates emerge victorious last night, was thankful for all the volunteers that helped out citywide, as well all the voters who took the time to cast their vote after a relatively sleepy election season.

The mayor also expressed an excitement in moving the city forward, which on paper looks easy with a 7-2 majority on the council.

“For one, I’m extremely excited to move this city forward, working with the city council to get things done for our city. That’s what’s really, ultimately, what it’s all about,” Zimmer said on the second floor of Mills Tavern, later emphasizing the importance of long-term projects such as the Washington Street Redesign Project.

The venue hosted a victory party for District 33 Assembly candidate Annette Chaparro, a City Hall employee that, along with her running mate Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, breezed past the Republican opposition.

When asked about DeFusco pulling off arguably the night’s biggest upset, unseating 21-year incumbent Theresa Castellano, Zimmer said the 34-year-old “did a fantastic job” and said “I think he’s going to be an excellent councilman.”

DeFusco, who got his campaign rolling before Memorial Day, sounded every bit like a man ready to sit at the dais at 94 Washington Street when asked how confident he felt heading into Election Day.

“Listen, the 1st Ward is a very diverse place: we have a lot of families, a number of people that were born here, a number of people that got here in the past year or two,” he explained.

“I think what the 1st Ward has long been in need of is somebody that is going to work with everyone across the political divide to make sure that we have common sense issues taken care of.”

While DeFusco also noted that he likes Castellano, commending her for her over two decades of public service, “but I believe that it’s time for a change.”

Cunningham, who looked like he may have a real fight on his hands based on early vote-by-mail numbers in the 5th Ward, decisively defeated Eduardo Gonzalez – the chair of the Elysian Charter School board who also previously served on the Hoboken Housing Authority.

“It [the campaign] was won on the doors, on the issues, and I think it’s a wonderful win not only for the 5th Ward, ┬ábut Hoboken overall.”

Cunningham briefly sat on the City Council with Zimmer early in their political careers, which inevitably helped him earn her support in this election cycle.

While yesterday was undeniably a strong showing for Team Zimmer, former Assemblyman and Councilman Ruben Ramos steamrolled his way into the 4th Ward Council seat – possibly setting up a rematch with Zimmer in 2017.

Additionally, although “The Reach Higher, Hoboken” team – also supported by Zimmer – initially appeared to have pulled off a clean sweep, but John Madigan and Britney Montgomery of the Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) led “Smarter Future” ticket made it onto the board after the vote-by-mail ballots were counted.