Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hoboken Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla stunned political observers in their respective mayoral contests, who else made a big impact on Election Day in Hudson County?
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Steven Fulop – While practically no one gave Matsikoudis a chance, Fulop gave him a bully beatdown: notching over 27,000 votes, more than triple that of his challenger.
Ravi Bhalla – The veteran councilman, soon to be the first Sikh mayor in the state, was triumphant in a tumultuous six-person Hoboken mayoral race that saw him taking shots from all angles.
Dawn ZimmerÂ – Despite announcing she wouldn’t seek re-election in June, the incumbent Mile Square City mayor showed she still has plenty of political clout by helping Bhalla over the finish line. She can now ride off into the sunset on a high note.
Christopher MunozÂ – The Bayonne BOE trustee was re-elected, despite an aggressive campaign against him funded by Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31). While hes not ready to for state politics, there’s still a place for Munoz in the Peninsula City.
Felix Roque – Obviously the West New York mayor wasn’t on the ballot, but his BOE candidates won at least two of the three seats up for grabs, even though the opposition pulled 1,2,3. Vote-by-mail totals indicate Children First will likely take a clean sweep.
Bill Matsikoudis – Give him credit for stepping up to the plate against a popular incumbent when no one else would, but he still got thrashed at the polls. Even if Fulop left the mayorâ€™s seat early, it would be tough to see Matsikoudis as a viable replacement now.
Mike DeFusco – He lost to Bhalla, plain and simple. However, it couldâ€™ve been a lot worse for a councilman who has sat up on the dais for less than two years: he was the campaignâ€™s top fundraiser, was competitive until the end and got a councilwoman elected.
Anthony Romano – Being on the ballot twice proved to be a critical error, as the freeholder saw a nearly 75 percent drop off in the vote totals for the mayorâ€™s race. Difficult to envision Romano running for anything but freeholder from here on out.
Jen Giattino – The council president broke off from the Zimmer regime, ran an all in grassroots campaign and came up way short. Giattino couldnâ€™t match up with Bhalla and DeFuscoâ€™s money and organization and is now a likely target for the next mayor.
Nick Chiaravalloti – While the Assemblyman had no problem getting re-elected, only one member of his BOE slate managed to pull out a victory after heavily outspending the competition. The fact that Munoz was the top vote getter had to be an insult to injury.
First off I would like to congratulate Ravi Bhalla on becoming the first Sikh Mayor in Hoboken. I view Ravi as more than capable of having the intellect to do the job if he remains focused on the job at hand and not outside of Hoboken doing fundraisers for the next step up.
The movement that will develop out of the ashes of reform since both Zimmer and Bhalla appeared to be indifferent to huge amounts of outside PAC money influencing the Hoboken election will be the #HobokenResistance. Reform is dead as we know it. Ravi will not have an automatic majority and will have a significant hurdle in getting the 6th vote for bonding given the current council makeup. So much for his pledge of “Being the Infrastructure Mayor”.
The HobokenResistance has a new website http://hobokenresistance.com and the goal is both watchdog and advocacy to ensure Hoboken keeps making progress. Our new Mayor will be held accountable by both the City Council and active citizens alike.