After months of speculation, Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco has made it official that he’ll be challenging Mayor Dawn Zimmer in the November 7 municipal election.
“When I ran for City Council, it was to infuse new ideas into the political conversation and engage every resident who would listen. As your mayor, I know that we can incorporate every voice and turn the political divide of the past into a unified and progressive future,” DeFusco wrote in the description a video he posted on his Facebook page minutes ago.
“I’m excited to continue this conversation and look forward to knocking on every door and speaking to every resident to ensure that we respect our history while we build a better Hoboken for the future.”
While DeFusco was endorsed by Zimmer in the 2015 council race where he unseated longtime incumbent Terry Castellano, their relationship has recently soured.
In March, the councilman said Hoboken needs to improve the equality rights of the LGBTQ community, also brushing off state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack’s endorsement of Zimmer as the North Hudson power broker doing what’s best for his city.
In his announcement video, DeFusco said quality of life issues such as flooding, potholes and water main breaks remain ongoing problems and it’s about time a new administration has the opportunity to solve them.
“I know we can be better, faster and more efficient in responding to the critical issues our community faces, and I believe it’s time for a change,” DeFusco said.
“These issues and many others have largely gone unsolved by our long-time Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who in November will seek re-election to a third term, asking voters to extend her time in office to more than thirteen years.”
While many had assumed that DeFusco was not going to follow through on a mayoral bid, which had been rumored as early as late last year, Hudson County View noted last month that it was still likely, further evidenced by a strong first quarter fundraising effort where he banked about $89,000.
He has also been more vocal at council meeting this year, challenging his colleagues on the appointment process of the zoning board and the North Hudson Sewerage Authority and unsuccessfully trying to pass a resolution to preserve a church at 901 Bloomfield St.
A spokesman for Zimmer’s campaign did not immediately return an email seeking comment.