Jersey City politicos are turning their attention to the 366 Democratic county committee seats up for grabs in June, with 53 being contested, in a relatively sleepy Hudson County primary season that features most incumbents running uncontested.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The off the line county committee candidates were mostly recruited by two groups: the Progressive Democrats of Hudson County and the Hudson County Progressive Alliance.
The former organization has 22 candidates running, 19 of whom are competing in Jersey City (along with two in Hoboken and one in North Bergen), as they revealed in an announcement yesterday.
“Our commitment to justice requires enabling an atmosphere that is truly inclusive of working people and of those who have been looked over and left out by traditional politics,” PDHC Continuing Political Committee Treasurer Brad Londin said in a statement.
“Recent history has proven that bold progressive candidates, funded by small donations and leveraging grassroots organizing, are able to stretch their dollars much farther, and that’s what we are doing here in Hudson County with this CPC.”
The group has also said they won’t take donations from the defense, pharmaceutical, and real estate industries.
PDHC CPC Chair Ron Bautista, a former candidate for Hoboken mayor and freeholder, said they don’t answer to “political bosses” and their community comes first.
With 908 Democratic committee seats countywide, it will certainly take some work beyond this election cycle to overthrow the Hudson County Democratic Organization, who will inevitably have preferred ballot placement (column A versus Column B) and a significant fundraising advantage to boot.
And even if the challengers were to pull off an upset in every contested committee race this year, that would only account for roughly 6 percent of the Democratic seats in the county and around 14 percent in Jersey City.
Nevertheless, the HCPA’s Amy Torres feels that this is a great first step and that each of these candidates brings a lot to the table, especially for voters tired of machine politics.
“There are over 50 people running off the line in Jersey City alone, many using slogans that they brainstormed as part of our training sessions,” she said.
“If we really want to move toward a party that doesn’t rely on brackets or slogans to hoodwink voters, we need candidates that are using language that resonates with their neighbors and empowers them. It’s those personal, authentic conversations that will drive people out to a low-turnout primary — and they aren’t currently happening in the party.”
On Wednesday morning, JCDC Chair Barbara Stamato thanked everyone who worked towards ensuring they ran a full slate this time around and also said she feels confident about pulling off a clean sweep.
“This is probably the first in a very long time that JCDC has filed a full slate of 366 candidates so I feel really good about that and proud of our team that worked to make it happen. I’m confident that all our candidates will prevail,” she said.
A full list of everyone running for the Jersey City Democratic Committee can be viewed here.
Otherwise, the ballot is going to be pretty boring in Hudson County this time around in light of New Jersey Assembly Majority Whip Nick Chiaravalloti dropping out of the 31st Legislative District race after being kicked off the HCDO line.
His likely successor, William Sampson IV, will now run unopposed, as well Hudson County’s state lawmakers in the 31st, 32nd, and 33rd Legislative Districts.
Former Freeholder Jeff Dublin looks to be the next Hudson County Register, replacing Diane Coleman – which seems likely with the support of the party – but he will still have to defeat Melissa Alexander on June 8th.
Additionally, longtime Kearny Mayor Al Santos is being challenged for the first time since 2003 in a primary against real estate professional Sydney Ferreira.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Jersey City Democratic Committee Chair Barbara Stamato.