The Hoboken 6th Ward council race is still a three-way dance after Lauren Myers survived petition challenges from both of her opponents.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Myers, a litigation attorney running with the support of Mayor Ravi Bhalla, did not announce her candidacy until about an hour before the filing deadline on Thursday after picking up petitions the day prior.
Myers submitted 121 signed petitions of nomination on Thursday and 68 were required in the 6th Ward, as HCV previously reported.
Councilwoman Jen Giattino, the incumbent, and fellow challenger Ian Rintel both alleged that Myers had petitions signed electronically, which the Hudson County Clerk’s Office has not allowed since Gov. Phil Murphy (D) lifted the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are numerous issues: There is a docusigned petition submitted and accepted.
There are two people who signed four petitions for her (two per person). A number of petitions are obvious photocopies where the signature was not a real ink signature,” Rintel told HCV today.
“There are printed petitions that are not obvious but the signature again is not a real ink signature: these are hard to discern. Most troubling is that there is proof that voters signed a petition without any candidate name. They were asked to do so for whoever the future Team Bhalla candidate might be. It’s a longshot but I’m asking any resident who signed a petition for ‘The Mayor’s Future Candidate’ to come forward and give details.”
Giattino echoed a similar sentiment, adding that the rules are the rules and no one should receive exceptions.
“No one is above the law. Petitions cannot be signed electronically, they must be wet signatures and after speaking with several petition signers I learned they signed electronically which showed there was a pattern of impropriety. This is not about me, it is about election integrity,” she stated.
Rob Horowitz, a spokesman for the Myers campaign, said that her opponents were only challenging her petitions because they are scared of having to face her in the non-partisan November 7th elections.
“Lauren Myers’ two opponents are so threatened by her entrance into the race that they are baselessly attempting to keep her off the ballot, throwing a bunch of charges against the wall in the vain hope that anything sticks,” he stated.
“We are confident that Lauren has more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and are disappointed that instead of engaging in a substantive debate on the issues facing Hoboken, her opponents are desperately attempting to short-circuit one. We look forward to a campaign where Lauren’s new energy and ideas will serve as a potent contrast with the slash and burn, business as usual politics of Jen Giattino and Ian Rintel.”
Rintel claimed that Myers remains on the ballot only because the clerk’s office refused to investigate the petitions specified.
Giattino is seeking her fourth term this fall, a relatively rare political feat in the Mile Square City, while Rintel is trying again after an unsuccessful bid for council-at-large in November 2021, when he survived a challenge of his petitions.
As for Myers, she is also a Hoboken Democratic Committee member and president of the condo association at 830 Park Ave.