Zimmer confirms she won’t seek re-election, endorses Bhalla for Hoboken mayor

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Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer confirmed reports from last night that she would not be seeking a third term in office, instead endorsing Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla as her successor at a press conference in front of City Hall this morning.

“I’ve decided not to seek reelection this November. It’s been a very difficult decision, however, as many people know, I consider the issue of climate change and resiliency to be an urgent issue facing our city, our state and our nation,” Zimmer began.

“I’m certainly proud that Hoboken is on track to be protected from climate change. But, while our city is on the right track, our country no longer is, with President Trump having pulled our country out of the Paris Accord,” she said.

The mayor said this “lack of commitment to addressing this critical issue” played a key role in her bowing out of this year’s municipal election, despite notching a key endorsement of Union City Mayor/state Senator (D-33) Brian Stack and having a strong relationship with Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy.

She also cited getting the $230 million Rebuild by Design underway and improved, environmentally-friendly parks as some of the accomplishments of her administration.

Bhalla now jumps into a crowded field of candidates, which includes 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, business owner Karen Nason, local activist Ronald Bautista and, unofficially, Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5).

During a question and answer session with the media, Zimmer said that she had not had any discussion with the Murphy team about a possible position in Trenton.

“I can’t really answer a hypothetical. I do know that there’s good candidates out there for lieutenant governor and there have been discussions with the Murphy administration,” stated Zimmer.

“I am of course a very strong supporter of ambassador Murphy and I think he’ll make an excellent governor and I did call him to let him know that I was making this decision but there’s been no discussions about that. So I can’t really answer a hypothetical.”

Responding to a question from Hudson County View, Zimmer said that while she couldn’t speak for who the council would be supporting in the race, besides DeFusco, she stood by Bhalla 100 percent.

“I don’t think we can speak to what their positions will be, but let me just say, we have a great team and I’m proud of what everyone has done together, working together, but ultimately, I made the decision that Ravi is the right person for Hoboken right now to really move our city ahead.”

Bhalla also refused to speculate on who the Hudson County Democratic Organization may support in the election, noting that he’s focused on continuing what Zimmer started.

“I’m not familiar with that talk so I can’t really speak to it. I just want to focus on what I can control and that’s trying to move Hoboken in the right direction,” he explained.

“There’s been a lot of progress since the mayor and I first came to office and she is to be credited, for a large extent, for what she’s done for the City of Hoboken.”