Hoboken Councilman DeFusco plans to seek 3rd term, doubts he’d run on Bhalla slate


Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco revealed that he plans on seeking a third term and doubts he do so as part of Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s slate during a live interview yesterday.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Listen: I am not going anywhere, I’m the city councilman, I plan on running for re-election next November. Paul [Presinzano] is also my guy: I think he’s done an amazing job at bringing our neighborhood, our ward, together on issues,” DeFusco said on HCV Live & Uncut yesterday afternoon

He was referring to Presinzano’s remarks from last week that he supported him when asked if he was considering another council run in 2023.

“Having an additional voice working with me to vocalize we could be doing better is always a welcome asset to any legislative body.”

The downtown councilman acknowledged that there was rampant speculation that he wouldn’t run do to recent success at his day job at CBS, but said he planned on continuing to balance both responsibilities.

DeFusco was first elected as a part of then-Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s slate in 2015 and was then re-elected by about a 2-1 margin in 2019.

In between, he ran a full throttled mayoral campaign in 2017, coming in a close second please to then-Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla. From that point forward, he and the mayor were engaged in a blood feud for around three years.

However, this year, the Hobokenites were able to work together on issues such as the Hoboken Connect project, which has $176 million in funding from the state and is better known as the rail yards redevelopment plan – as well as revitalizing Court Street.

While DeFusco is happy to have a professional relationship with Bhalla and his administration, respectfully disagreeing on policy and voting no when it’s warranted, he doesn’t foresee being a part of his ticket in the November 2023 ward council races.

“There will always be that oppositional force that I exude, but it is going to continue to be in a very productive, apolitical way. I want things done, I want them done fast, and I want to see Hoboken continue to move forward,” he stated.

“I doubt I would run on a ticket with the mayor. I would, however, like to work with the mayor on decisions for the city that are less political and more policy-based.”

There have been limited discussions about the ward council races in the Mile Square City, which makes sense given they’re still over a year away. Nevertheless, for the moment, it appears that all six incumbents will run again.

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  1. We all remember DeFusco’s outrage and his hard working supporters coming to his defense after the Bhalla Terror flyer was dropped days ahead of a tight race.
    Many believe either the Bhalla or Romano teams dropped the retooled and altered campaign ad originally from a DeFusco mailer that was duplicated and changed to spread racist fears against candidate Bhalla who is Sikh.
    Sikhs have no history of terrorism and in fact are a quite peaceful faith.

    Romano had everything to gain by igniting racial bigotry towards Bhalla and DeFusco. One a proud turban wearing Sikh and the other and openly Gay- two firsts for Hoboken and hudson County. Romano’s base tended to lean o;d Hoboken born and raised, largely from the 3rd ward- a base of Hoboken that is mostly left behind and resistant to change from fears of displacement.
    Bhalla a well connected statewide aspirant with friendships across the state’s politically connected law firms and elected officials- direct lines to Gov Murphy and best pals with Sen Booker.
    When the racist flyer was dropped around Hoboken a quick response was in order, found first by a Bhalla supporter, instantly tweeted by many outraged residents and the Bhalla campaign, while this was happening Defusco himself, Family and Friends were out all night collecting the racist flyers off of cars and steps. Witnesses saw DeFusco visibly upset. — Cleary not a reaction of someone who would intentionally do this- Why would a Gay man attack another minority and sign his name to a flyer? Afterall DeFusco must have experienced his share of bigotry and hate being openly gay. While not as identifiable as a man wearing a turban, deFusco never hid his true self. It seemed that Both Bhalla and DeFusco would be natural allies and empathetic to each other’s life experiences and pain. DeFusco pleaded with Bhalla to accept that his campaign didn’t do it.
    Bhalla still has never offered that.
    Police investigated for month’s- security cameras reviewed , witnesses screened and questioned , several detectives hours spent. NOBODY ever caught.
    Romano being a former police officer had deep connections in the police dept.

    Five years has passed, DeFusco mostly inactive in media the last few years and absent or dialing into meetings quite a bit since the pandemic compared to his past always present self was believed to be on the way out. Afterall a TV media executive with a high pressured job doesn’t need this crap right? But then again media companies (like Discover/HBO and CBS/Paramount ) are merging and laying off at all levels so what’s better than a political job with free healthcare as a nice safety net for a middle age guy that may want to keep a future pension and healthcare right?
    That brings us to this interview, rumors have been rampant with DeFusco cutting deals to run with Bhalla, meetings in restaurants and cocktails with Bhalla insiders are confirmed.
    So why would this alliance be a problem? It sounds good on paper right? Mike wants things done, Bhalla wants his agenda passed – Everyone happy. great for Hoboken…
    No so fast. Let’s rewind to the night before the Mayoral election when that flyer hit, DeFusco, his family and his supporters combing the streets collecting the racist flyer, Defusco pleading to talk with Bhalal and a joint statement codeming the racist act. Does all that go away for a plaza with cobblestones or a “Artisanal Market” at the Hoboken terminal? Mike’s supporters probably think otherwise, if one believes the deFusco campaign did do the flyer then Bhalla’s family and supporters should demand an explanation from Bhalla himself. Why would you reunite with a person who you never exonerated. There’s been no winners in this for DeFusco, a few bruises on the Bhalla side.
    Curiously Anthony Romano a retired cop, bar owner and County freeholder/ commissioner -who was the 3rd candidate in this history is now enjoying a strange new undefined “public safety _____” job with Bhalla for $50,000 on top of his pension and County commissioner salaries.
    The Police Chief retired, as has some of the others in the flyer investigation, others promoted and the retired chief barely out a year is with a cushy $150,000 gig. to be continued…

  2. Mike Defusco is a Slick-Greasy say anything to a camera or voter to get his way and your vote.
    He was friends with Terry Castellano, they ran against her, he was on Zimmer’s slate, then he stabbed her in the back, he said he loves Hoboken but nobody sees him around. He Air B and B’s his condo like it’s a hotel- are Air B and B’s even legal?
    Suddenly he’s back and talking as if the last 22 months of missed meetings, dial in and no shows never happened.
    This guy thinks we are dumb