Election Day, which was pushed back a month and will now be contested mainly via vote-by-mail ballots, is on Tuesday: which seats are up for grabs in what could be a once in a lifetime experience?
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
8th Congressional District
At this point, it goes without saying that this is the main event for everyone anxiously awaiting the result on July 7th.
U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, who has served in the House for 14 years, is squaring off with his first game Democratic challenger in aggressive progressive Hector Oseguera – as well as under the radar candidate Will Sheehan.
While the incumbent, as expected, has the most money in his campaign war chest by a wide margin, Oseguera has been running wild on the ground, notching appearances on Hot 97, Telemundo, and WNYC (which also included Sires) to name just a few.
Oseguera’s voter outreach program includes a blistering social media game anchored by a relentless Twitter attack that is approaching 21,000 followers – about 4,000 less than Sires, quite a feat considering the incumbent has had an account since 2009 and the challenger started only back in October.
Meanwhile, Sires’ campaign has been rolling out multiple endorsements a day, with the biggest being from Gov. Phil Murphy (D), Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, along with U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ).
He of course also has the support of the Hudson County Democratic Organization and is appealing to insiders by showing he has near unanimous support from the machine – while putting President Donald Trump (R) in his crosshairs for more casual voters.
History is on Sires’ side as well, as an off the line congressional campaign hasn’t been successful in the past 84 tries.
At the end of the day, this race will be decided by how many establishment types decide Sires deserves another two years in DC versus how many progressives believe now is the time for fresh blood. Expect a closer race than many are calling.
Beyond that, let’s take a look at the other candidates on the ballot in contested races.
10th Congressional District
Donald Payne, Jr. (I) vs. John Flora
The 10th District congressional seat is generally viewed as having most of its power emanating from Newark, which bodes well for Payne who lives in the Brick City and has the backing of both the HCDO and Essex Dems.
Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Jerry Walker (I) vs. Rachael O’Brien
Walker has received a fair amount of backing outside of the HCDO and has strong name recognition in his Ward F home base.
He should have this one well in hand, barring any late surprises from O’Brien and her progressive slate.
Yraida Aponte-Lipski vs. Eleana Little
There’s no incumbent in this one, as Freeholder Joel Torres was booted from the line and the HCDO decided to back Yraida Aponte-Lipski instead – the wife of former Jersey City Councilman Steve Lipski.
For that reason, Aponte-Lipski is favored, but this is no gimme, as Little has developed a respectable grassroots following and also has the backing of Ward E Councilman James Solomon (Downtown is included in the 4th District).
Anthony Romano (I) vs. Ron Bautista
A rematch of sorts in Hoboken, given that both Romano and Bautista entered the ring for 2017’s mayoral contest.
Romano has been pounding the pavement and notching establishment endorsements over the past few weeks, with Bautista providing a strong social media presence along the way.
Fanny Cedeno (I) vs. Kevin Hernandez
Cedeno was appointed to the post in January and has run a pretty disciplined campaign despite the pandemic, which comes as no surprise when you known she is backed by state Senator/Union City Mayor Brian Stack.
While Hernandez has begun putting his name out there recently, hard to envision this not being a case of too little, too late.
Anthony Vainieri (I) vs. Roger Quesada
The freeholder chair spearheaded a pretty robust VBM effort ahead of next week, and with the backing of state Senator/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, it’s difficult to envision an upset here.
Quesada, who supports Bernie Sanders policy staples such as Medicare for all, will have to rely on a robust anti-vote coming out against the entire HCDO column to be able to compete in this one.
The “Not Me. Us” slate (Oseguera’s team) is on Column A, while the HCDO-backed candidates are on Column B.
While it’s not contested, Sanders is still on the Ballot against Joe Biden, which matters if you’re interested in for voting for district delegates for the Democratic National Convention.
Those looking to find their polling or drop box locations can now do so via the Hudson County Clerk’s website.
And remember: anyone waiting to vote in person will only be able to do so via a provisional ballot.