Jersey City Chief Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut showed his first major offensive flurry against his opponent in the November 2nd municipal elections, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, at a fundraiser celebrating his 38th birthday last night.
“I’ve lived here my whole life, I can point out problems for days in Jersey City, it is another thing to provide actionable, measurable, solutions and he [Hudnut] has ’em all day!,” Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise, who is running for a council-at-large seat on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket, said at Six26 last night.
“So do not be fooled by individuals who continue to perpetually point out problems that they cannot fix and looked towards a person who is dedicated towards fixing them.”
Aside from being running mates with Hudnut, Solomon’s falling out with DeGise appeared inevitable given that he helped progressive off-the-line Democratic candidates win seats this year and the councilman endorsed three candidates off-the-line last year – including Hector Oseguera for congress.
After he was handed the microphone, Hudnut said that while he’s thoroughly enjoyed his time as the chief municipal prosecutor and the head of the city’s quality of life task force, those jobs yield mostly reactive work and feels he would be the most proactive choice to represent downtown Jersey City on the council.
“I don’t see anybody proposing solutions about the things that are coming … We don’t have a councilman that’s willing to sit with people he disagrees with,” he said to a rooftop of supporters.
“If you think Team Fulop isn’t progressive, you are living under a rock. This race is going to be about who is more effective: that is Team Fulop.”
Hudnut acknowledged that a lot has changed since 2017, when he was one of Fulop’s harshest critics, at one point slamming the administration – as Solomon did – over the handling of a tape recording where two officials potentially tried to rig a bid.
Now, Hudnut is focused on beating Solomon into submission, claiming he is the working class candidate who will be able to achieve victory without expensive campaign consultants while still working a day job.
“James Solomon says I’m a machine: guess what? I work for a living, James Solomon doesn’t have to work for a living. So when I’m working 10 hours a day, James is home writing out his next Twitter post … I’m going to win this race one vote at a time,” he said.
” .. And if I am a machine James Solomon: I’m gonna run you over!”
In an interview, Hudnut said that Ward E residents have expressed displeasure about Solomon focusing too much time on national issues, “not offering anything meaningful” on police reform, and “next to nothing” on green issues, among other things.
Last year, Solomon said that it was “unacceptable” for the city’s budget, which he voted against (it still passed), to allocate nearly $110 million to police salaries, and also proposed diverting $5 million from public safety into community programs – which was voted down.
As far as Hudnut is concerned, local police reform would involve more foot patrols and more police training, particularly in combatives, to avoid unnecessary levels of force.
“We really, really need to push the new leadership of the JCPD to have a stronger commitment to foot patrol. Not park and walks because that’s not long enough but an actual beat unit or a patrol that actually goes out and solves small quality of life issues,” he explained.
” … I also think that we better need to train out police officers in physical combat so they don’t resort to lethal force or unjustified force. It costs money to train our police officers, it takes them out of patrol for the day, but police departments across this country just don’t spend enough money on training our officers.”
Hudnut added that “we could lead the standard nationally” if the city chooses to do so.
Finally, Hudnut said that the key difference on Election Day will be “who talks the talk and who walks the walk,” asserting that his track record is superior to Solomon’s since he won the December 2017 runoff.
In response, Solomon chose not to stand and trade and echoed what he said when Hudnut announced his candidacy in February.
“I am confident the voters of downtown Jersey City will choose the candidate of political independence and progressive values to represent them on November 2nd.”
Other dignitaries in attendance included County Executive Tom DeGise, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, County Commissioner Yraida-Aponte Lipski (D-4), Hoboken GOP Committee Chair Joe Branco, Jersey City POBA President Joe Cossolini, former Mayor Gerry McCann, former Councilman Steve Lipski, and former Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, among others.