Bhalla denies trying to replace Chaparro, says she was considered as DeFusco opponent


Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla is pushing back against a report that he ever tried to replace Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro in the 33rd Legislative District, though also said she was once being considered as an opponent against 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco.

By Marc Bussanich and John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I support Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro 100 percent. She’s a dear friend of mine, she’s a colleague, we worked together during my first year as mayor – hand in hand – so she has my support 100 percent,” Bhalla said following an unrelated press conference where Chaparro was also present.

“As does [state] Senator [Brian] Stack support her 100 percent. There was a time where we actually considered running her in the 1st Ward against Councilman [Mike] DeFusco. And at that time, if she were to run against Councilman DeFusco in the 1st Ward, we would’ve have to find an alternative to Annette [in the assembly].”

A report in Politifax said that Bhalla had Stack’s blessing to replace Chaparro this year, as long as he was able to find another Hispanic woman interested in the elected position.

The report also said that “Bhalla insisted on a non-Hispanic,” paving the way for Chaparro to get the Hudson County Democratic Organization line again in the June 4th primary.

This led to a statement being released from LUPEPAC President Patricia Campos-Medina earlier today, blasting Bhalla for even considering such a move.

“With Latina representation still severely lacking in our State Legislature, it is extremely disappointing that Mayor Ravi Bhalla is attempting to replace a sitting Latina legislator with a non-Latina candidate,” she said.

“Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro has represented her constituents, the residents of one of the most heavily Hispanic districts in the state, with integrity and intelligence.”

Several sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said Rachel Hodes, a member of the Hoboken Democratic Committee’s executive committee and the wife of Jason Freeman, Bhalla’s deputy chief of staff, expressed an interest in the assembly position if Chaparro was not seeking re-election.

However, Bhalla said the sentiment from LUPE PAC was inaccurate, reiterating that Chaparro was not going anywhere unless she decided to challenge DeFusco, the mayor’s chief political nemesis.

“We had no intentions of replacing her, except for the option of considering running her in the 1st Ward against Councilman Michael DeFusco. So it was during that time where we might have had to find a replacement,” he continued.

“The only intention to replace her would’ve been if she ran in the 1st Ward, that didn’t happen and we’re very proud that she’s agreed to continue to serve in the assembly.”

As far as why Chaparro did not end up seeking the 1st Ward council seat, which is up in November, Bhalla cited “an internal collaborative process” that ended when Chaparro decided she was a better fit in the assembly.


  1. I think he may be recounting the story in reverse order. Think about it. He tried to get his gal into Annette’s seat and then offer Annette to take on DeFusco as consolation prize. When Stack said no to Ravi’s gal, the grand master plan to get rid of DeFusco by running Annette was foiled. NOW the mayor scrambles to talk about how Annette has his support 100%…after he couldn’t get his way.

  2. Ravi is caught 🤥 lying and badly I might add. Politifax and both confirmed Ravi tried to “repeatedly” replace Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro.

    This lie comes way too late. Ravi is lying. Again.

  3. So, according to Ravi Bhalla, we’re to believe this is all in error although it took him days to figure out how to put up a lie and defend his replacement who is not Hispanic. Somehow no one in the mayor’s office knew about Brian Stack’s requirement any replacement candidate be Hispanic?

    You can’t be serious. Notice Assemblywoman Chaparro has remained silent as these stories erupted over days.

    That says it all.

  4. So Annette would step down from Assembly, and leave her city hall job all to be a council person for 23,000?
    Yeah right Bhalla.

    Ravi is a liar!

    • That was just a horse manure story that DeFusco shoveled out because while he may have lots of money coming in from outside of Hoboken and bar owners many of the real voters in the First Ward really want him gone and would love to have someone who actually represents them

  5. So Ravi admits he really wants DeFusco out. The first OUT gay elected official in Hoboken and DEMOTE a Latina from the Assembly. Notice how Annette has not said anything?

    So I guess it’s true, that Ravi has a problem with certain groups despite his PR people trying to make him look open minded.

    • We are so glad to finally have Lane Junior shifting to our side! He now agrees with us that all political decisions for Hoboken’s future should be made by Brian Stack rather than by some local yokel! All power to the HCDO! Lane Junior also agrees with us that decisions for who is best for every job should be based solely on identity politics rather than the best person for a job. All Lane Junior needs to know about Mike Defusco is that he’s gay! Case closed! Who cares about all Mike’s dirty deals, sleazy alliances and ELEC violations??? We love that stuff at the County. And now Lane Junior loves it too! Mike’s gay, Annette’s latina, and Brian Stack is callin’ the shots, baby! Thank you for finally bowing down before our all-knowing authority, Roman, aka Lane Junior!

      • If we were to have a ‘local yokel’ making our political decisions, don’t you think our ‘local yokel’ should be making decisions based on the best interests of the citizens of hoboken and not the best interests of the ‘local yokel?’

        Let’s face it, the ‘local yokel’ was just trying to get his flunky in to do HIS bidding in Trenton, regardless of the best interests of the district. And, undoubtedly, HE would have been expecting Stack to get behind support or that flunky. Because that flunky wouldn’t be able to get the majority of votes in a district that spans beyond Hoboken without Stack’s backing.

  6. Ravi Bhalla should not be criticized for trying to remove Chapparo. He has a great track record of supporting Latinas and minorities in general. For example, he endorsed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Joe Crowley in 2018…oh no wait, he actively went with the connected old white guy that Vijay was working for, and apparently made some questionable statements.

    Well he deserves credit for putting Chapparo in the Assembly in the first place, right? Oh that happened before he was mayor and now he wants to get rid of her first chance he has?

    But anyway, there have been several other minority candidates he’s supported at various points over the years, like Dawn Zimmer, Carol Marsh, Dave Mello, Jim Doyle, Emily Jabbour, Tiffanie Fischer, Jen Giattino, Dana Wefer, Kurt Gardner, Phil Cohen, Peter Cunningham, Eric Kurta, Greg Lincoln, John P. Allen, Tom Greaney, and Michael Lenz. At least one of those must be a minority, right? None? There just must not have been any minorities who wanted to run then. Oh, there were several Latino and black candidates running for the same seats as these people? And he never included even one on his ticket or supported any of them at all? That’s so statistically improbable it’s almost as if it were intentional.

    So it seems the only minority candidate Ravi Bhalla has ever supported in Hoboken…is himself?


  8. Does the City’s spokesperson ever do CITY/taxpayer’s work or just run press for Ravi out of our public property?
    The Ravi media war room belongs on private property off city time and with non city employees.
    Can’t wait unit all of Vijay’s email’s and electronic records are OPRA’d

  9. So Zimmer and the Shadow are selling their giant carbon generating town home for more than double they paid?
    Are they being asked to give 10% to affordable housing or the parks trust fund?
    After all development is really has hurt Hoboken and we shouldn’t allow these giant profits for the wealthy!

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