By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Matsikoudis, who some blame for Jerramiah Healy getting trounced by Fulop in the 2013 mayoral election, has been a bother for Team Fulop since late last year, doing everything he could to prevent moving the municipal elections from May to November.
While that effort was unsuccessful, Matsikoudis continued to solider forward and was one of many administration critics who pushed for the first tax reval in nearly three decades – something that is also supposed to happen late next year.
The two political adversaries then largely stayed out of each other’s way until the final quarter of the year, where Matsikoudis decided to enter blitzkrieg mode, making it official he would be running for mayor – challenging Fulop on everything from tax abatements to campaign finances.
On that note, Matsikoudis called for Coalition for Progress, a super PAC linked to Fulop’s over before it started gubernatorial run, to return the $1.46 million raised from donors with Jersey City ties.
The city council also felt some heat from Matsikoudis shortly after that, when they approved a $20,000 contract for an outside law firm to review records requests about the city’s communications with the Port Authority.
A number of political observers expected Fulop to testify in the Bridgegate trial, but that never happened – yet these records requests remain unfulfilled.
Most recently, Matsikoudis likely equipped himself with some valuable campaign ammunition after a judge ruled that the city must hand over some text messages and emails between Fulop and former political advisor Tommy Bertoli (h/t The Jersey Journal).
All the while, Fulop, who announced he’d be seeking re-election in September, has decided to mostly play defense at the early stages of this championship bout.
Fulop’s office has dismissed Matsikoudis as a product of government waste and corruption, given that he was a prominent member of City Hall when Operation Bid Rig took place in 2009, but is yet to launch a true offensive attack during this campaign.
Currently, the only other declared mayoral candidate is ex-Assemblyman Charles Mainor, but many equate Jersey City mayoral races with a battle royal as opposed to a toe-to-toe showdown, so it will be an interesting 2017 as we see who else decides to enter the ring.