While they’ve only announced their candidacies recently, Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro and Ward A council hopeful Kristen Zadroga Hart are both expected to make the November 2nd ballot, while Ward F could feature the city’s only four-way race.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Lavarro, who has been serving at-large for about the past decade, announced he’d either run for mayor or seek re-election on August 20th, as HCV first reported.
The following day, he posted on Facebook that he’d be seeking another term on the council running as an independent after running with Mayor Steven Fulop in 2013 and 2017.
While delivering 1,680 signed petitions of nomination, the total needed for citywide office, may have sounded like a daunting task, Lavarro submitted 2,828 by today’s 4 p.m. filing deadline, according to the city clerk’s office.
“It was a tough slog in one week, but a lot of good people made it happen. Good Jersey City people,” he said in a text message.
Lavarro had previously been circulating petitions to establish a ballot question where voters could decide if they wanted to get rid of the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, but that became moot when a judge struck it down earlier this month.
Many who signed those petitions were contacted in text blasts that have become common among municipal candidates after Lavarro had announced his candidacy.
Assuming he’s in the race, that means seven people will be running at-large.
Incumbents Joyce Watterman, the council president, and Danny Rivera, along with Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise running with Fulop.
They will take on Chris Gadsden, the Lincoln High School principal and a former Ward B councilman, activist Elvin Dominici, and June Jones – the president of the Morris Canal Development Corporation.
The aforementioned trio is expected to bracket together on the ballot.
While Gadsden began the day short of the 1,680 certified signatures, he submitted more this afternoon and is expected to surpass that number.
Hart, the McNair Academic High School Athletics supervisor, only announced her candidacy on Tuesday, but needed 294 signatures to get on the ballot.
She submitted 434 today, according to the clerk’s office, and will now likely be in a three-way race with incumbent Denise Ridley and challenger Pedro Figueroa – who also submitted more signatures today to try and get over the 294 threshold.
However, the clerk’s office said this evening that Figueroa did not file enough petitions to qualify for the ballot and can only cure defective petitions, making a one-on-one race very possible.
As for Ward F, which was already anticipating a spirited contest between incumbent Jermaine Robinson and activist Frank “Educational” Gilmore, will likely have two other entrants.
Vernon Richardson, an aide to Fulop and former chief of staff to late Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, submitted 486 petitions today, while Barshay Muhammad, the manager of the VIP Diner, dropped off 449 petitions, the clerk’s office said.
Richardson created a campaign website back in June and is yet to speak publicly about his candidacy.
Ward F candidates needed to submit 307 valid signatures.
Otherwise, there doesn’t appear to be any surprises, with Joel Brooks challenging Mira Prinz-Arey in Ward B, Danielle Freire looking to unseat Yousef Saleh in Ward D, and Chief Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut squaring off with James Solomon in Ward E.
While John Salierno submitted petitions for Ward D, he did not submit the 227 valid signatures necessary to make the ballot, and like Figueroa, can now only cure defective petitions between now and Thursday at 4 p.m.
The other three-way dance will be in Ward C, where Councilman Rich Boggiano will look to stave off challenges from Kevin Bing and Tom Zuppa, while Fulop will take on Lewis Spears.
The non-partisan Jersey City municipal elections are on November 2nd.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information from the Jersey City Clerk’s Office.