Anthony DeFino, Jr., the son of one of the most prolific West New York mayors in history, announced that he plans on taking Mayor Felix Roque’s seat in 2019.
“I know everything that’s going on in the town, might not be the greatest, what’s happening lately, but I’m here to announce that I’m running for office against you in the next election,” DeFino said at Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.
“My I ask what kind of office you’re running for?,” Roque responded.
“I’m running for mayor,” DeFino answered.
“Oh, God bless you,” Roque said. ” … Your father was an honorable man and I’m hoping that you’re at least maybe one percent close to that and thank you.”
Technically, no one runs for mayor under the commissioner form of government: it’s up to the five elected commissioners to select who the mayor will be every four years.
Despite that fact, their is typically a head of the ticket that says they are seeking the mayor’s seat to help simplify the process for voters.
Anthony DeFino, Sr. was mayor from 1971 thorough 1995 and left behind a legacy that is fondly remembered by longtime West New York residents.
The incumbent, who is in his second term after first being elected in 2011, has shown he isn’t afraid to take on any and all challengers in a political fight.
DeFino was a late addition to the 2015 municipal elections in West New York, running a fly by night campaign, where one of his running mates never made it on the ballot, on a shoe string budget where he garnered over 700 votes.
Speaking one-on-one with Hudson County View after the meeting concluded, DeFino said that he didn’t like the direction the town was moving in and wanted to run a full-scale campaign this time around.
” .. I thought it was an opportune time to give the public knowledge that there is another choice out there. Okay, we don’t have to keep continuing on with the same old, same old – especially with the circumstances going on right now in the county with the [Democratic] county committee situation,” DeFino explained.
“Where Roque split with his own ticket: I think that’s a fiasco and I think it’s a disservice to the people of West New York because that is not the way you’re supposed to do public service, by having inside fights with each other and you don’t even pay attention to anybody.”
Roque is heading to court next week in the latest chapter in an ongoing dispute regarding the West New York Democratic Committee.
Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo has filed 58 candidates under the Hudson County Democratic Organization banner, and even in a best case scenario for the mayor, he’s expected to run the majority of his committee candidates off the line.
While Roque is independently wealthy and a stellar fundraiser, DeFino said he is not going to let his bank accounts deter him from getting his name on the ballot next May.
“I’m not concerned with that because the last election, which saw three people on my ticket, we gathered $5,000 contributions and I still acquired 770 votes. We only had two or three months prior to the election to gain funds: that’s why I started earlier,” DeFino said.
“That’s a major point in an election is fundraising and that’s why I announced a year ahead of time: to raise funds.”
In closing, DeFino said that between “the experience I was given through my father and “a love for this town that no one else will have,” he is clearly the best man for the job.
If DeFino does pull his petitions for nomination next year, West New Yorkers will potentially see another crowded race, as Cirillo and Department of Revenue and Finance Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez are both rumored to be considered running a full ticket.