Hoboken’s Cunningham, Fisher not endorsing Bhalla yet, open to Giattino mayoral run


Hoboken Council members Tiffanie Fisher and Peter Cunningham, allies of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, aren’t ready to endorse Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla for mayor – despite Zimmer throwing her support behind him on Tuesday.

Hoboken 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham (far left) and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher (third from right) aren't ready to endorse Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla (far right) for mayor yet.
Hoboken 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham (far left) and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher (third from right) aren’t ready to endorse Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla (far right) for mayor yet.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Unlike the trying times of 2007, we are a growing community facing an entirely new set of challenges. The first one of course is to avoid seeing the ‘clock turned back’ and allow old political elements to get their hands on the wheel of government again,” Cunningham wrote in a mass email that went out last night.

“The second is our challenge to identify the best candidate to win in November. It should be as in the past, a collaborative process which is not only a core tenet of reform. Many of the goals achieved in the last 8 years have been achieved by consensus and collaboration.”

After news leaked on Monday night that Zimmer would not be seeking a third term, despite being a clear frontrunner, the mayor hosted a press conference in front of City Hall the next day, confirming she would not seek re-election and endorsed Bhalla.

When Hudson County View asked Zimmer if the rest of the council, excluding 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco who is also running for mayor, supported Bhalla as a mayoral candidate she said she couldn’t speak for the rest of the council, but she felt Bhalla was the best choice for the job.

“While Mayor Zimmer decided to endorse our friend and colleague Councilman Bhalla on Monday, a collaborative conversation among her team did not take place. I, for one, think that process is warranted,” Cunningham continued.

“Based on these factors, I’ve decided at this time not to join the Mayor in endorsing Ravi. Yesterday, Council President Jen Giattino issued a statement saying she is considering entering the mayoral race. While some are feeling a sense of trepidation if that happens, I feel there is an opportunity here that can lead to victory in November.”

As whispers of Giattino’s potential candidacy began to become public on Thursday, the council president stated that she was giving a mayoral run “serious consideration.”

Minutes ago, Fisher released a similar mass email that said although she felt Zimmer did “an enormous amount of good” while in office, she also left the door open to support a potential Giattino mayoral run.

“As a councilwoman, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Jen on complex issues and I have witnessed firsthand her leadership, competence and straightforward professionalism. I applaud her willingness to consider entering this race to be our next leader,” wrote Fisher, also the new chair of the local Democratic committee.

Bhalla’s campaign spokesman, Rob Horowitz, said the councilman-at-large wasn’t expecting to receive unanimous support off the bat and his qualifications for the mayor’s seat are quite clear.

“It is now an open seat and Councilman Bhalla was not expecting to get everybody’s support on Day 1. He respects Councilman Cunningham and at the end of the day hopes to win his support, but anyone who is considering a candidacy or backing someone else and takes a hard look, should realize how formidable Ravi is,” Horowitz said.

“He has more than $100,000 in the bank, the active support of Dawn Zimmer, a popular mayor, and most importantly an impressive record of accomplishment and the skills and qualifications to make a great mayor.”

The November 7th Hoboken mayoral contest is already a crowded race, with Bhalla, DeFusco, business owner Karen Nason and local activist Ronald Bautista already declaring their candidacy – with Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) expected to announce next week.

Giattino declined to comment on the emails sent by Fisher and Cunningham.

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  1. Cunningham needs to give up referencing himself and his cronies as “Reformers”. The Zimmer Administration had become nothing more but an extension of the Hudson County Political Machine. During Cunningham’s time in office, they took CONTROL of the Housing Authority, Board of Education, Planning and Zoning Boards, the Hospital Board and the Hoboken Democratic Organization. That, my friends, is called machine politics.They have traded endorsements with County politicians and power brokers and have allowed some of the most flagrant violations of the municipal master plan in the history of this city. Have you witnessed the out of control high rise development going on in town? You can be sure that the very same developers who are profiting from the massive amount of development are also contributors to the Zimmer machine, of which Councilman Cunningham has been a willing benefactor. So from now on, anyone from the Zimmer organization needs to stop labeling themselves as “Reformers”. When he refers to the politics of the past, I hope he’s referring to the past 7 years. If he is, then he’s right, it’s time to throw him and his clan out of office because of the damage they have done to this town.

  2. Oh, really oye vey?

    I guess you liked the HHA better under Carmelo Garcia’s Reign of Error, and the Board of Education under Pupie Raia who spent education $ on cell phones, steak dinners, junkets to Atlantic City, and 1050 employees on the payroll! You miss the days when the cockroaches ruled Hoboken!

    Those tall buildings and high density variances were granted in the Russo and Roberts administrations! Not under Zimmer. Under Zimmer we got the SW park, 1600 Park, the BASF property… all consistent with Hoboken’s Master Plan.

    Reform has chased out the cockroaches, and we don’t want them back.

  3. Get your facts straight. More variances for height and density have been doled out during the Zimmer Administration than any administration in the past 20 years. I suppose that if you lie to yourself enough that you will eventually believe your nonsense. Just take a look around. There are high-rises going up everywhere. Have you seen the one by the Light Rail on 9th or the one going up on 7th and Jackson? Or maybe you want to check out 1415 Park Ave? I could go on, but maybe you should take a walk around town. The exercise may help the blood flow to your brain.