32BJ backs most of HCDO’s candidates, Bhalla-endorsed Hoboken council hopefuls


Influential labor union 32BJ SEIU is backing most of the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s candidates in partisan races, along with four Hoboken council candidates endorsed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla in the non-partisan November 7th contest.

SEIU 32BJ. Twitter photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Every candidate in this list has made a commitment to defending and advancing the rights of workers across the state,” 32BJ SEIU Executive Vice President and New Jersey State Director Kevin Brown said in a statement.

“We are proud to support candidates who will not waiver in the ongoing fight for working people. We look forward to seeing them emerge victorious in November.”

The union backed Craig Guy for Hudson County executive, who is running unopposed, as well as Hudson County Commissioners Bill O’Dea (D-2), who also doesn’t have an opponent this fall, and Anthony Romano (D-5), the board chairman.

After a close primary win over progressive activist Ron Bautista, Romano will defend his seat against Hoboken Republican Committee Chair Joe Branco.

In the 32nd and 33rd Legislative Districts, respectively, all of the HCDO’s preferred candidates were endorsed, most of whom have no competition.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-32) received their nod for state Senate, while his running mates, John Allen and Jessica Ramirez, got the backing for Assembly. Robert Ramos is the Republican nominee for Assembly in this district.

As for the neighboring LD-33, state Senator Brian Stack, also the Union City mayor, along with his Assembly running mates Julio Marenco and Gabriel Rodriguez, won’t face a challenger in the general election.

However, only Stack and Marenco got the nod from 32BJ, while Rodriguez did not.

In LD-31, 32BJ only endorsed Assemblywoman Angela McKnight for state Senate in her unopposed bid to succeed Sandra Cunningham.

They choose not to endorse in that Assembly contest, where incumbent Will Sampson and Jersey City Democratic Organization Barbara Stamato are running with the local blue party’s support.

They have opponents in Jersey City Board of Education Vice President Noemi Velazquez and Bayonne Board of Education Trustee Mary Jane Desmond, who are running as independents, as well as Republican Assembly nominee Angelique Diaz.

As for the ward council races in the Mile Square City, SEIU went with Rafi Cordova in the 1st Ward, Marla Decker in the 2nd Ward, Councilman Phil Cohen in the 5th Ward, and Lauren Myers in the 6th Ward.

Cordova is running in a three-way contest against administration critic Paul Presinzano and former Hoboken Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini.

In another three-way dance, Councilman Tiffanie Fisher will defend her seat against Decker and perennial candidate Pat Waiters, who is also on the ballot for the board of education contest on the same day.

Cohen is seeking a second four-year term against Liz Urtehco, while Myers is hoping to unseat Councilwoman Jen Giattino. Play!Hoboken owner Ian Rintel is also running in the 6th Ward.

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