Left to the wolves by his friends in the Hudson County Democratic Organization for Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s pick of attorney Phil Cohen, stories of District 5 Freeholder Anthony Romano’s demise were premature.
Don’t call it a comeback, especially because he never lost, but Anthony Romano upset the establishment as he held onto his seat on the Hudson County Board of Freeholders after the June 3 Democratic Primary Election.
Romano, who will be serving his third term, was all but left for dead when NJ Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop endorsed Phil Cohen in a rare unified HCDO effort in Hoboken.
Cohen – who won Jersey City 291 to 149 – was demolished in Hoboken 2,006 to 1,224, despite the support of Zimmer, serving her second term.
No candidate was hurt more by the late afternoon rain, which hit right as the gentrified voting population – a key constituency for Cohen – were coming home from work. Victorious in Wards 2, 5, and 6, he never got the turnout he needed to secure the victory.
Romano won on the foundation of “Old Hoboken” and energized voters living in affordable and public housing – earning nearly 25% of his votes in Harrison Gardens, Marineview Plaza, and Church Towers alone.
Cohen truly suffered an embarrassing defeat, as it’s rare to lose with the backing of the HDCO in a Democratic Primary for Hudson County Freeholder, especially when you’re fully backed by the mayors in the district.
Cohen’s loss is a reminder for outsiders who the true core of the Democratic Party is.
As for Romano, the future may seem brighter than ever, but can he be anything more than freeholder? Only time will tell, but a run for Mayor of Hoboken only seems logical at this point – something he spoke with Hudson County View about after his election victory:
In the same interview, Romano also praised U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) as a mentor and a friend, perhaps indirectly confirming the rumor that some of Menendez’s street soldiers helped him get the vote out in the Mile Square City.
As for Zimmer, although the June primary loss sting, she proved she still has a good core group of supporters when two of her three endorsed board of education candidates won in the November election.
Whether or not her destiny is a one-on-one showdown with Romano in 2017 largely hinges on what happens to arch-nemesis Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia (D-33) when he seeks re-election in June.