Including five incumbents, 14 candidates have filed to run in the non-partisan Hoboken ward council races, with three candidates filing in three different wards, according to the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In the 1st Ward, the only one where the incumbent, Mike DeFusco, is not seeking re-election, administration critic Paul Presinzano, Rent Leveling Board Chair Rafi Cordova, who is running with the support of Mayor Ravi Bhalla, and former Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini all filed.
Pellegrini, who picked up petitions in the middle of the month, filed the least out of the group, 78, and 65 valid petitions of nomination are required to make the fall ballot.
Presinzano and Cordova both hosted campaign kickoffs already, in May and July, respectively, and submitted more than triple what was required so both are safe bets to have their candidacies formalized.
In the 2nd Ward, Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher will defend her seat against Marla Decker, a lawyer, secretary for the Hoboken Democratic Committee, and a volunteer of the Hoboken Public Education Foundation.
The latter was endorsed by the mayor and both candidates declared in mid-May. They could be joined by Patricia Waiters, who is already on the ballot for the board of education race but still submitted for the 2nd Ward.
In the unlikely scenario where she is elected to both offices, she can only serve in one role.
70 valid signatures were required to qualify in the 2nd Ward.
In the 3rd Ward, Mike Russo, the longest serving member of the council, will face an unexpected challenger in Ed Reep, a Republican data analyst who is running under the slogan “Reep the Benefits.”
No one else submitted in that race, where 71 valid signatures were required.
“We need compelling change as the status quo has clearly let things fall into disrepair for too long. We need to work together to rein in rising rents with an official cap for “unconscionable rent increases,'” Reep said in a statement today, his first as a candidate.
“We need to invest in our children through summer enrichment programs. We need to address health and safety in our communities through a dedicated program to address the rat infestation. We need to work together citywide instead of being beholden to the failed old school politics of the past that got us into this very mess.”
For the moment, 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos appears to be the only one running unopposed, as no one else submitted petitions to challenge him this time around.
The 5th Ward could also potentially be a head-to-head contest, with Liz Urtecho challenging incumbent Phil Cohen, the latter seeking a second term with Bhalla’s endorsement.
Both candidates announced months ago and submitted well beyond the threshold of 69 valid signatures.
Finally, in the 6th Ward, Councilwoman Jen Giattino could square off with Ian Rintel, the owner of Play! Hoboken who announced his candidacy in May, and attorney Lauren Myers, who somehow managed to collect 121 signatures in just one day.
Myers is also a Hoboken Democratic Committee member and president of the condo association at 830 Park Ave. Bhalla gave her his backing today in what was the first formal mention of her candidacy.
“I am supporting Lauren Myers and encouraging 6th Ward residents to join me because she will infuse the City Council with a fresh perspective that is very much needed,” he said in a statement.
“Her legal skills and ability to navigate complex issues will be a strong asset on the Council.”
Giattino had been rumored to be sitting this one out on and off for month, but she debunked that earlier this month when she told HCV she would indeed be seeking a fourth term, a rare effort in Mile Square City politics.
68 valid signatures were required in the 6th Ward, and like Myers, Giattino and Rintel both submitted well above the threshold.
Candidates have until Monday, August 28th to attempt to cure defective petitions, with the ballot drawing scheduled for September 6th at 12 noon.