Hoboken 1st Ward council hopeful Cordova banks $15k at kickoff, campaign says


Hoboken 1st Ward council candidate Rafi Cordova, the chair of the local rent leveling and stabilization board, banked $15,000 at his kickoff last night, his campaign said.

Photo courtesy of the Rafi Cordova for Hoboken 1st Ward council campaign.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I am grateful for the outpouring of support for my candidacy,” he began in a statement.

“This will enable me to bring my message of providing the independent leadership we need — focusing on neighborhood quality of life issues, being constantly accessible to all constituents and caring for and respecting our most vulnerable — to all the voters in the 1st Ward.”

Cordova also has approximately $23,000 cash on hand after Wednesday’s event at 80 River Bar and Kitchen, according to a press release from his campaign.

2nd quarter reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement (NJ ELEC) were not available on their website as of this writing.

About two months ago, Cordova announced his candidacy with the backing of Mayor Ravi Bhalla and former 1st Ward Councilwoman Terry Castellano. Last night, he received the backing of housing advocate Cheryl Fallick.

“I’ve known Rafi for several years and to me his candidacy is historic and exciting. Our 1st ward residents are lucky as they will have an opportunity to cast a vote for someone who, without a doubt will be a representative for everyone, including – and this is important – the most vulnerable among us, seniors, people with disabilities, the less affluent and renters,” she said.

” … Rafi Cordova’s candidacy presents an opportunity to revitalize and re-galvanize a certain energy that is currently lacking in governance. He’s always known that we can’t know where we’re going unless we know where we came from. He knows that governance is not about the value of Hoboken’s real estate, but our true value rests within our people.”

Her endorsement is also notable since she unsuccessfully ran for council-at-large in 2021 on a ticket with Paul Presinzano, the other declared candidate in the 1st Ward council contest.

Presinzano announced he was running back in January and held a campaign kickoff about a day-and-a-half before Cordova entered the fray.

The two appear to be competing in a head-to-head contest for an open seat, given that 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco revealed he wouldn’t be seeking a third term on May 2nd, as HCV first reported.

Dignitaries in attendance included Bhalla, Council members Emily Jabbour, Joe Quintero, Phil Cohen, and Jim Doyle, Public Safety Director Ken Ferrante, Hudson County Commissioner Chair Anthony Romano (D-5), Hoboken Democratic Committee Chair Rachel Hodes, Hoboken Republican Party Executive Secretary Pavel Sokolov, former 1st Ward council candidate Migdalia Pagan Milano, and former Councilwoman-at-Large Vanessa Falco, who is now a city director, among many others.

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  1. That’s great to read. Good for Rafi. I don’t live in the first ward but Paul needed to stop pretending like he was already elected. I don’t know rafi well but I know he’s better than having joe peluso going around in Paul’s payroll.

  2. So, Ravi and his friends helped this guy put $15k in his coffers and we expect Cordova to remain independent at crunch time? Please….. This is another instance of the Hudson/Hoboken Machine spending and manipulating to the point of making elections meaningless and their aftermath inevitable. These are the politicians and operatives who continue to; raise our taxes, botch negotiations and incur needless lawsuits due to arrogance and ineptitude. We need fewer of these people, not more.

  3. You can just look at who is behind Rafi and supporting him to see how “independent” he will be. Pretty much all TeamBhalla and the Bhalla Administration. He will just be another Bhalla Rubber Stamp. The first ward and Hoboken deserve so much better than a Bhalla controlled council. I hope all 1st ward residents vote for Paul. A good guy who is willing to challenge the status quo and fight for his neighbors.

    • OK Everybody let’s all sing the puppet has no strings.

      Ravi Bhalla has been padding Raffi’s resume to has him run as his puppet on the Hoboken City Council.

      It is comical for Bhlla’s very well paid political team to write a speech and press release saying that their puppet is an INDEPENDENT voice.

      The First Ward and Hoboken as a whole would be better off to elect truly independent representative that would not just rubber stamp everything from Bhalla & Co.

  4. Reminder: these are non-partisan elections and perhaps Rafi is behaving in a non-partisan way. What if he invited the Republican Committee Executive to his event? What if that person showed up because he wants to behave in a non-partisan way? The pettiness has to stop. We need more focus on where the money is coming from rather than who is getting the free food and drinks. (Btw, I’m a lifelong democrat.)

    • It might be nice to imagine it could be but it also might not be true. Rafi is Ravi’s
      bought and paid for he will do what he is told to do.

    • Committee Executive ? That’s a nice title for two whiny immature failed gadflies who get trounced whenever their own names are on Ballots….
      Republican, Right Wing , Anti-LGBT books banners…” Executives ” and real leaders don’t cry and stomp around events pissed off when their names aren’t announced from the stage DEMOCRATIC Party events…

      • Is this the same James Sanford who has consistently voted “no” on nearly every proposal at the Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners over the past year? It appears to be driven by a personal vendetta. Hoboken can ill-afford any more petty politicking than we’re already subjected to. Astonishingly, Sanford rejected proposals for emergency roof repairs, the maintenance and service of fire protection systems, and even the servicing and subsequent replacement of boilers in the heart of winter. This begs the question: Is Sanford truly aligned with Hoboken’s best interests? Perhaps we need a representative who is more closely aligned with the needs of our community.

        • Under the current thumb of Councilman Michael (Big Sting) Russo (son of convicted felon and former mayor Anthony Russo) the Hoboken Housing Authority proposals has tripled in size. It might be a good that others also voted no every once in a while.

    • “Bhalla told HCV that right wing extremists, including Neo-Nazi sympathizers, Proud Boys, and homophobes, have continually spread misinformation about the event and the local Republican party has bought into it.

      “ … These accounts spread the misinformation that children were going to be ‘groomed’ and that pornography was going to be distributed to minors. Nothing could be further from the truth, however the truth does not matter to these far right-wing accounts, and unsurprisingly don’t matter to the party of Donald Trump,” he stated

      “Facts matter: as the Hoboken Public Library has stated, no explicit materials will be read or shown to children of any kind, full stop, and only age-appropriate books will be read to respective audiences. The city would never endorse any event where explicit content was provided to children. The adult book with graphics circulated by far-right wing accounts will not be read to children.”

      • Please seek help. Therapy is routinely available. Please let them know where the scary republicans hurt you, otherwise you will be in for a rough ride in 24/25.

      • Sorry, but it has become hard to take Ravi at face value

        1) He has been censured by the NJ State Supreme Court for unethical conduct while in private practice.

        2.) He initially assured voters he would not take a second job while in office – then announced he was taking one even before being sworn in as Mayor.

        3.) He said the uptown Municipal Complex was happening – 100%.

        4.) He said that NY Waterway would re fuel in Hoboken – “over my dead body.”

        5) Whatever happened to that second hotel? What about the Brian Stack project on the cliffs?

        He needs to get his own act together before running off at the mouth …or having others run it for him.

        BTW – I don’t want to ban books, just the rats that have infested our city.

  5. I wonder what Fallick got from Bhalla to endorse his candidate ?
    It is clear from the photograph that 95%of the people at the fund raiser are Bhalla’s usual staff and camp followers and not actual residents of the First Ward and can not vote for the guy.