Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis has vastly outraised Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski to date, with significantly more cash on hand as well, though super PAC spending still colors the race as the contest enters the 11th hour.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Davis, seeking a third term in the non-partisan May 10th municipal elections, has raised $483,112 to date, a hefty figure even with just $4,550 coming in last month, according to an April 8th report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC).
His 29-day pre-election report also shows an opening balance of $145,370.57 and $113,651.69 in expenditures, leaving him with $36,268.88 cash on hand.
The International Longshoremen’s Association, where Assemblyman Will Sampson (D-31) – who Davis handpicked to replace Nick Chiaravalloti – donated $2,500 0n March 29th, while City Planner Sue Mack gave $300 on March 2nd (making her aggregate $700 to date).
As far as expenditures go, California-based Change Research was paid $11,700 for research and polling on January 17th, local business Vital Signs received a total of $18,238.79 in five separate installments for campaign signs, and Secaucus-based Vision Media got a check for $7,500 for consulting services on February 17th.
Meanwhile, Ashe-Nadrowski reports raising $63,304.61 to date, all of which came during the 29-day ELEC report she filed on April 19th. The report also says she’s spent $59,045.60, leaving her with $4,259.01 cash on hand.
A fair number of her donations are $100 or less, though other bigger contributions exist as well. For example, Andrew Casais, her co-campaign manager and Davis’ nephew, donated $1,000 on February 23rd.
Chiaravalloti’s now largely dormant Assembly account also chipped in $5,000 on January 25th, while Raine Cuseglio, Chiaravalloti’s ex-chief of staff and the other co-campaign manager for Ashe-Nadrowski, has given $1,931.88 to date.
Michael DeMarco, the brother of former city business administrator and campaign operative Joe DeMarco, has given $3,000 to date, with a Nicholas DeMarco writing a check for another $2,000 on February 18th.
Additionally, Business Administrator Melissa Mathews, donated $2,500 on January 3rd, while he her husband contributed $1,000 on March 25th.
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 also gave $1,000 on March 30th.
The “Together We Can” Board of Education slate campaign account, which Ashe-Nadrowski running mates Jodi Casais and Maria Valado were each once a part of, added $1,388.39 on January 13th, and 2nd Ward Councilman Sal Gullace – who isn’t seeking re-election – gave $3,000 on February 17th.
Her largest expenditures have been her campaign headquarters, which has $1,900 in monthly expenses, and Spring-based Activate Media, who has been paid $7,849 for consulting as of the end of last month.
The big question remaining is how much will super PACs and/or independent expenditures get involved in the remaining three weeks of the race.
Last week, the Fund for Quality Leadership, a super PAC with close ties to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, paid for a positive Davis mail piece that hit just before the holiday weekend.
“Jimmy Davis gets things done. Ignore the noise. This election season, the mudslinging and negative attacks are out-of-control. Dark money PACs with shady donors. Mailers from Mahwah. Crazy hits that make no sense,” the mailer says.
“They all just want to distract from the fact that Bayonne is thriving under Mayor Davis. Jimmy took a Bayonne that was broke and rescued the city from financial failure, eliminating deficits and ushering in an economy recovery that created new jobs and opportunities for working families.”
In March, the Fund for Quality for Leadership hosted an event at the Chandelier restaurant in Bayonne with Fulop as their key note speaker, raising about $80,000.
While they weren’t required to file with ELEC since then, their January 28th report shows $124,800 raised with no expenditures yet, getting their funding from just two entities: $60,000 from the Jersey City Democratic Committee and $64,800 from Team Fulop 2021.
Furthermore, their February 28th report shows that nothing had changed. At the same event, Fulop told HCV that he would be backing Davis in this election.
Although state Senator Ray Lesniak had founded the Government for the People PAC to aid Davis’ re-election bid, the entity went defunct after $2,500 was paid to Sean Caddle on December 15th, which The Record reported today was one month after he signed a plea agreement with the federal government.
Caddle’s guilty plea related to a murder-for-hire scheme he orchestrated to claim the life of Jersey City politico Michael Galdieri went public on January 25th.
On the other hand, the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund, a Washington D.C.-based PAC, launched the “Dirty Davis” campaign in the final quarter of 2021 and went defunct once the calendar turned to 2022.
As a result, their contributors and expenditures never went public on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) website.
A new PAC, technically registered as a nonprofit corporation, also known as a 501(c)(4), the Committee to Advance New Jersey has done at least two pro-Ashe-Nadrowski mailers.
According to their incorporation papers filed with the state on January 11th, their board of trustees are Chris Direse, Dave Robinson, and Jeff Borden – who are all using the business address 1001 Boxwood Court in Mahwah.
None of them have been politically involved in Bayonne or Hudson County previously and their business purpose is listed as simply the “promotion of social welfare.”
The entity was incorporated by Craig P. Bossong, a partner at high-powered law firm Florio Perrucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor LLC. He could not immediately be reached at his office on Tuesday.
The third candidate in the race, Dr. Mitchell Brown, only filed his D-1 form, which indicates that he’ll run for mayor, on April 4th and just announced his first fundraiser is on Thursday.