2018 Power List: The top 20 most influential elected officials in Hudson County

0

Due to popular demand, let’s check out which Hudson County elected officials had the most (and least) success in the past 365 days.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

2018 Hudson County Power List: Elected Officials

20. Felix Roque

The West New York mayor did not have a great year in 2018: he lost the local Dem committee, the BOE and three of his four fellow commissioners turned against him. He has thrived as an underdog in the past and will need to do so again to get re-elected in 2019.

 

19. Gabriel Rodriguez/Cosmo Cirillo/Margarita Guzman

After successfully winning the WNYDC fight and getting Amy DeGise elected HCDO chair, the trifecta of West New York commissioners have united in an effort to oust Mayor Felix Roque. If they can remain together, Roque will face an uphill battle to get re-elected.

 

18. Wayne Zitt

Quietly leading one of the most densely populated municipalities in the country, Zitt has managed to keep controversy away from his tiny town by honing in on issues such as parking and community engagement.

 

17. Angela McKnight

Another state legislator from JC, McKnight’s most notable political plays actually came in Bayonne: backing the effort to save the P.A.L. and supporting Mayor Jimmy Davis’ re-election. While she backed the losing Jersey City BOE slate, no reason to believe she won’t be re-elected in 2019.

 

16. Raj Mukherji 

The Jersey City assemblyman largely stayed out of the public eye in 2019, he sponsored bills honed in on animal welfare, assisting the poor, and improving the college experience. He also helped fundraise for U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) re-election, which proved to be a good choice.

 

15. Nick Chiaravalloti 

Chiaravalloti was another key force in Davis’ re-election and his own seat now appears safe, though the off chance that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop runs off the line challengers in LD-31 remains – for now.

 

14. Angelica Jimenez

Jimenez raised some eyebrows when she told state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack to stay out of LD-32 this summer, but the team she supported for the West New York Dem Committee dominated and Amy DeGise ended up besting Stack for HCDO chair. She will be a valuable commodity in the May 2019 elections.

 

13. Steven Fulop

2018 was arguably the worst year in elected office for the Jersey City mayor, who was unsuccessful in taking over the HCDO and controversies over the Katyn monument and his police department lingered. In spite of this, he maintains above average popularity among voters and no potential 2021 challenger appears to have emerged yet.

 

12. Richard Turner

Another year, another 52 weeks where barely anything of political interest happened in Weehawken. Turner hasn’t seen any serious opposition since 2002 and that won’t change any time soon. He will quietly be a powerful influence in the 2019 West New York race.

 

11. Bill O’Dea

Marching to the beat of his own drum, the freeholder decided to spearhead the effort to have the county rescind their contract with ICE. Even if the county hierarchy stays the same, don’t expect the vice chair to bite his tongue at any point in time.

 

10. Ravi Bhalla

Despite often trading punches with the majority of the city council, the new Hoboken mayor kept his base happy by signing “progressive” executive orders and keeping the local bar scene in check. After opting not to campaign against bringing back runoffs, his first major political test as won’t arrive until the ward council races in November 2019.

 

9. Jimmy Davis

Davis was expected to face a stiff test in former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, where many onlookers expected a runoff, but the incumbent ended up winning by a stunning 16 points. Erica Daughtry, Joe DeMarco and Chiaravalloti made a formidable front line in this one.

 

8. Sandra Cunningham

A staple in Jersey City politics, Cunningham managed to avoid suffering any collateral damage in the HCDO debacle and also maintained strong ties with legislators throughout the entire state. Neither was an easy feat to accomplish.

 

7. Amy DeGise

Not much to say that hasn’t already been said: the Jersey City BOE trustee became the first female chair of the HCDO on June 12th when she bested Stack. Her first major task in 2019 will be assigning the party line to the six Hudson assembly candidates.

 

5 (tie). Anthony Vainieri

The lifelong North Bergenite not only appears poised for a third term as chair of the Hudson freeholders, but is now starting to look like the most logical choice to succeed Sacco as mayor when he decides to call it a career – which of course won’t be any time soon.

 

5 (tie). Tom DeGise

The Hudson County executive’s political life briefly flashed before his eyes when he was blindsided by Stack and Fulop at the Coach House diner on a fateful snowy day in March. In a twist of fate, his daughter was the one to best Stack one-on-one and prolong his political career.

 

4. Brian Stack

Stack suffered his first head-to-head loss in decades in 2018 in what looked like a David vs. Goliath type of matchup on paper. However, his GOTV operation performed better than ever in November and it’s beginning to look more and more like he will never face a Union City challenger again.

 

3. Albio Sires

2018 marked the most active Sires has been in West New York in years, helping navigate a Dem committee slate to victory, backing Amy DeGise and sweeping the BOE race with a ticket that included his wife. While he won’t be on the ballot, he will make still make Roque’s life difficult next year.

 

2. Nick Sacco

While it wasn’t an incredibly busy year in North Bergen, the BOE slate backed by Sacco cruised to victory, even with over 20 candidates on the ballot, and the school referendum question was another landslide. He looks to parlay that success into an even more definitive win against Larry Wainstein the second time around in May.

 

1. Bob Menendez

Despite a well-funded opponent, polling poorly and voters identifying high negatives, the senior U.S. senator ultimately won with relative ease. The blue wave hit NJ hard in November and Hudson didn’t disappoint: delivering over 100,000 votes to the outspoken Democrat.