Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla had a poll going this past weekend to get favorable-unfavorable numbers in next month’s city council races, as well as the 8th District congressional race where he may be a candidate next year.
The poll sought to identify the favorability and unfavorability of Bhalla, U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8), and the majority of the city council candidates.
The favorability of President Joe Biden (D) and former President Donald Trump (R) was also tested.
3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo is expected to win handily against first time candidate Ed Reep, a Republican data analyst, while 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos is unopposed.
Both are potential mayoral candidates in 2025 and voters were asked how they would rate their performances in office to date, along with the races where Bhalla has endorsed candidates: the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th Wards.
A spokesman for Bhalla did not respond to an inquiry about the poll.
Ousting 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, another possible mayoral hopeful, and 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino is generally seen as a tall order, while 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, a key Bhalla ally on the council, is expected to be in a competitive race against Liz Urtecho, though he remains favored.
The 1st Ward is more of a crapshoot since 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco is not seeking a third term.
Bhalla has endorsed Rent Leveling Board Chair Rafi Cordova and his running against administration critic Paul Presinzano and former city Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini, hypothetically leaving the door open for a December runoff.
Last week, it was revealed that the Hoboken mayor is “seriously considering running for Congress,” prompting Menendez to announce his re-election bid hours later, taking a shot at Bhalla in the process over a potential primary, as HCV first reported.
The following day, Bhalla said that U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Rob’s father, should resign over a three-count federal bribery indictment, a move that went against the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s position to remain neutral in the situation.
Bhalla, Fisher, and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, the only declared candidate for governor, are thus far the only elected leaders in Hudson County signaling that the elder Menendez should step down after being accused of taking bribes to peddle his influence.
Craig Guy, the Democratic nominee for Hudson County executive who is unopposed next month, has already come out in support for Rob Menendez, and while it wasn’t a formal endorsement, it indicates Bhalla would have to run off the line if he decides to challenge the incumbent.