ELEC: In Hoboken, Russo leads all potential mayoral candidates with $220k COH


Hoboken 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo leads all potential mayoral candidates in fundraising by a wide margin right now, with $220,404.35 cash on hand, his April 16th report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) says.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Russo, the longest tenured Mile Square City councilman who was first elected in 2003, ended 2023 with $80,916.85 in his campaign war chest and had a big first quarter of 2024, raising $156,770 and spending only $17,282.50, his campaign finance report shows.

Ironstate Human Resources Director Keisa Agnija contributed $5,200, as did Jennifer Barry and Barry Jackson, of the Kushner Real Estate Group, and Cassesa Management, Inc., a local property management company based out of 51 Newark St.

Liberty House restaurant owner Frank Cretella chipped in $1,500, while former 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano donated $1,000, as did city vendor Fairview Insurance. The other city insurance vendor, The Alamo Insurance group, contributed $2,600.

Beyond that, former West New York Mayor Felix Roque wrote a check for $500, as did Hoboken Board of Education Trustee Chetali Khanna and ex-Hoboken Mayor Dave Roberts.

Additionally, Ed Reep, who got crushed by Russo in November’s 3rd Ward council race, gave $300.

The Hoboken Firefighters IAFF Local Fundraiser account gave $600, with Local 1076 added another $300. Similarly, the Hoboken Police Department’s Civic Association donated $500, while the Police Superior Officers Association donated $1,200.

Furthermore, Assemblyman John Allen gave $2,500, while his business partner, Pat Light, the founder and CEO of The Light Group, got involved at $5,000 and former Union City Mayor Rudy Garcia contributed $3,500.

As far as expenses go, Russo paid $5,670 to the Monroe Investment Group for his office space, which includes rent, utilities, internet, and cable, as well as paying San Francisco-based Caleb McDermott $4,000 for political consulting.

While no one has declared for the non-partisan November 3rd, 2025 Mile Square City mayoral race yet, Russo is on the short list of contenders.

That list also includes 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, and Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour.

Fisher has not filed a first quarter report with ELEC yet, while Ramos reports $25,121.97 cash on hand, compared to $29,889.64 for Jabbour.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 8th District, raising roughly $1.6 million to date, and has not publicly given any indication of what he’ll do if he is unsuccessful in the June 4th primary.

His April 15th ELEC report show $49,468.50, with all fundraising efforts being directed to his congressional race in recent memory.

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      • Presinzano said in the interview with YOU that he hasn’t discussed it with his family yet. That doesn’t sound like 100% not running to me; although I’m sure that’s what he is telling Russo and Ramos.

        He also assured Defusco he wasn’t going to run.

        • He did say that at the end, but he led with “the mayor’s race is not for me” and then went on to say I believe in a hierarchy, meaning the most senior council members should have a crack at it first. I just can’t see a scenario where he would do it, I guess if it looked like Russo was going to run unopposed he’d think about it, but that absolutely won’t happen.

          • I didn’t take it that way, I just watched it again and he said something along the lines of if I was going to even consider it I’d have to discuss it with my family and we haven’t had that discussion. That after explaining why he had no interest in running, as in we’d have to have to talk about if I was interested and I’m not interested.

            Anyone can change their mind on any given day, but from my vantage point, I felt like it was a pretty decisive no. I think he’ll be an early backer of Ramos.

        • Oh look she’s back and re-branded! The bitter self-pity begging ex-running mate and perpetual Hoboken hater
          They are not Hoboken’s Future, They are Hoboken’s sad past

    • There is but one contenduh, Mikie. Make out the check like Solomon Dwek was told to “Russo for Hoboken.”
      All the developer money is not a surprise. Shoot, even that Ravibot John Allen is getting in on the action.

      Everyone knows the score about Russo and developers. Everyone at this table went to the clink, EXCEPT Russo. Here’s his all-time smash hit with Solomon Dwek in a FBI video:

  1. Michael Russo is a pig. How can people cast a vote for any of them? Russo sr? Menendez sr? Menendez jr? Ravi bhalla? Can’t you all see that they’re all the same?