2023 primary election: The biggest winners and losers in Hudson County


Last week’s primary election had a coupe of surprises in Hudson County, and like any other competition, there were some clear cut winners and losers – and maybe some not so obvious as well.

Instagram photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View


Hudson County Democratic Organization

The HCDO hasn’t lost a primary race since 2014 when, ironically, Commissioner Anthony “Stick” Romano won off the line against Phil Cohen.

Certainly, the line and institutional support are a part of that, but a clean sweep is still the best possible outcome at the end of the day and that’s what happened here.

Craig Guy

Sitting at the top of the ticket, Guy, the chief of staff to outgoing County Executive Tom DeGise, ran the countywide race like he was running for Congress, with likely $1.5 million raised and $1 million spent when all outside expenditures are considered.

While his race against Eleana Little was never projected to be close, a victory by a margin of about 76-24 is still a pretty strong one.

Brian Stack 

The state senator of the 33rd Legislative District, and also the Union City mayor, had no opponent, nor did his Assembly running mates Julio Marenco and Gabriel Rodriguez, but he still managed to surpass 20,000 votes in his favor.

Not the first time and certainly not the last, but for a basis of comparison, Guy got over 30,000 votes in his county exec race: it’s no secret who was a big part of getting him there.

New Legislative Candidates

In addition to Marenco and Rodriguez, first time Democratic Assembly nominees include attorneys John Allen and Jessica Ramirez in the 32nd Legislative District and Barbara Stamato in LD-31.

The closest thing to a challenge was Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher orchestrating a write-in campaign against Allen in protest of his candidacy.


Progressive Democrats

While they put up impressive county commissioner fights with Mamta Singh in the 4th District and Ron Bautista in the 5th District, their team ultimately went 0-9 on Election Day.

Matching the machines fundraising prowess and infrastructure is basically impossible, but the glimmers of hope here could pay dividends in the 2025 Jersey City mayoral contest.

HCDO candidates seeking votes in Downtown Jersey City

To expand on that previous point, Singh and Bautista did exceedingly well in the Ward E portions of their county districts, and don’t look now, but Little actually beat Guy downtown by a slim margin.

Let’s not mince words: the candidates Councilman James Solomon endorsed lost, but he still showcased notable strength on his home turf, which will at least create some headaches for the next couple years.

Frank Gilmore

The Jersey City Ward F councilman endorsed Michael Griffin, a friend and his former campaign manager, in the LD-31 Senate race and he lost by a 3-1 margin. Griffin’s running mate, Shanelle Smith, didn’t fair much better, losing her Assembly race by about 2.5-1.

That’s not the biggest deal in it of itself, but he also ran around three dozen Democratic committee candidates and only picked up four seats. That’s a pretty bad night at the office, though fortunately November 2025 is still a long ways off.

Hudson County voters

There are 398,190 registered voters in Hudson and just 46,988 cast a ballot last Tuesday, good for 11.80 percent turnout, according to the county clerk’s office. While that’s an improvement from 2019, that’s still not exactly a stupendous showing.

The time is now to purge the voter rolls and get some voter registration drives going. Also, hopefully the changes outlined by county officials to expedite results and have less problems on Election Day can pay immediate dividends in the general election.

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  1. It is obvious that the voter rolls need to be properly vetted. With early voting & the convenience of mail in no excuse ballots, turnout is still poor at best. There should be an audit on the cost of extended voting as it doesn’t seem to be a good financial investment considering the amount of votes that were cast. Food for thought! Congratulations to the winners!

  2. HCV, I would add the Hoboken Democratic party as losers or notable mentions as losers. The voter turnout in Hoboken was much lower than the rest of the county, the Hoboken Democratic party should be ashamed of itself and its executive committee should resign in shame.

  3. I’m a Hoboken RaviRachel Dem
    We were instrumental in screwing Romano this time, of course we had our spineless leader Ravi and Rachel tell Romano we are with him all the way, but Ravi was too busy on Election Day eating pizza outside at Basilles with his Bro Entourage and police detail to help get out votes.
    If I were Marla, Rafi and Phil I wouldn’t trust Bhalla to do much or live by his promises
    It’s Bhalla, Allen and Bros city now, and they’ll lie to anyone for power, profits and business ownership shares….

    Considering Raj was unopposed he showed he’s beatable next time

    • We marched forward bravely in the sixth ward, occupied by many capitalist landowners. Romano was beaten by a 2-1 margin and we have obtained dupe support among the sixth ward and political committee under Ravi, our strength in coming days when we further subvert the party and turn into a revolutionary sword under Ron with more help from Jason and Rachel ahead.

  4. How come Ravi doesn’t get a plug as a winner? Isn’t Ravi’s support for grooming kids winning? Ravi says grooming children through vile porn “books” to minors is a celebration of civil rights. Down with Ravi the Groomer!