Many new and familiar faces surfaced as 367 candidates filed for the Jersey City Democratic Committee, which Mayor Steven Fulop calls “renewed enthusiasm for getting involved in the political process on a local level.”
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“During the past few months, we have seen a renewed enthusiasm for getting involved in the political process on a local level,” Fulop said in a statement.
“It is encouraging to see so many people recognize the importance of civic involvement. I don’t think we would have seen this type of engagement had it not been for the presidential election in November,” also adding that 150 candidates are brand new.
Also known as the Jersey City Democratic Organization, the Fulop campaign said there is an increased focus on local Democratic parties in wake of Donald Trump, a Republican, being elected president in November.
Not everyone was thrilled with the process or the direction the JCDO is heading: one committee person who is not seeking re-election in June said “some of the most progressive people in the city” were discouraged from staying involved.
“The people removed were some of the most progressive people in the city … they’re filling committee seats left and right Downtown (and no where else),” the committee person said, asking to remain anonymous for fear of political retaliation.
“This has nothing to do with Trump, this is anti-Fulop views, local politics, being suppressed.”
In Ward A, former Freeholder Jeff Dublin and Sonia Dublin (Jeff’s wife), Board of Education Trustee and Vidya Gangadin, Denise Ridley, Barbara Stamato and Nabil Youssef, are among many seeking re-election, according to a committee list prepared by Fulop’s campaign.
Jersey City BOE Vice President Sudhan Thomas is also seeking a committee seat for the first time in Ward A.
Ridley and Gangadin have both been heavily rumored to be a part of Fulop’s re-election team, but the campaign has not yet made an announcement about who will be their Ward A candidate.
Nancy Warlikowski, Fulop’s scheduler and current treasurer of the committee, former Councilman John Hallanan and city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill are some of the more recognizable names that have filed in Ward B.
Among the most politically active running in Ward C are current JCDC Sergeant-at-Arms and local Department of Public Works official John Lynch, council candidate Rehka Nandwani, former Board of Education Trustee Micheline Amy and District 4 Freeholder candidate Imtiaz Syed.
Nandwani could possible run on Fulop’s council ticket given that Councilman Rich Boggiano will run as an independent, while Syed has an uphill battle for freeholder against Jersey City BOE President Joel Torres – who has the backing of the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
Furthermore, Allison Solowsky, an aide to Fulop, Department of Housing, Economic Development & Commerce Director Anthony Cruz, Hispanic American Commerce Association Secretary Elvin Dominici and Office of Diversity and Inclusion employee Jessica Berrocal-Abdelnabbi are among the most politically active candidates in Ward D.
Meanwhile, Ward E sees known organizer Joshua Parkhurst and Eric Fleming, Fulop’s campaign treasurer, seeking re-election. New Leaders Council Chapter Director Katie Brennan is also seeking a committee seat in the Downtown District.
Finally, Mayor’s Quality of Life Task Force Chair Doug Carlucci, former BOE Trustee Bertram Okpokwasili and current BOE Trustee Angel Valentin are some of the more well-known candidates seeking committee positions in Ward F.
Fulop campaign spokeswoman Hannah Peterson added that the JCDC is running 367 candidates in total, out of possible 372, with at least two candidates running in all but five districts (those districts still have one candidate running).
Additionally, opposition candidates have filed in just 24 different districts, according to Peterson.
Democratic committee seats are decided in the June 6 primary election.