Presinzano wins Hoboken 1st Ward council seat in first runoff election since 2009


Paul Presinzano is now the councilman-elect in Hoboken’s 1st Ward, winning the first runoff in the Mile Square City since 2009 this evening by an unofficial tally of 692 to 529.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

This was the first runoff election since Peter Cammarano defeated Dawn Zimmer for the mayor’s seat in 2009. Thanks to Operation Bid Rig, Zimmer would become the acting mayor about a month later when Cammarano was arrested on corruption charges.

Presinzano lost decisively in the 2021 council-at-large races where he ran on a slate without a mayoral candidate, however, he remained involved on the political scene ever since and announced a 1st Ward council run in January.

He took the fight to Mayor Ravi Bhalla and the administration on countless occasions, eventually drawing an opponent in Rafi Cordova – the chair of the rent leveling and stabilization board.

Cordova announced on May 18th with the support of Bhalla and former 1st Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, who lost to current local representative Mike DeFusco in 2015.

DeFusco announced he wasn’t seeking re-election on May 2nd, prompting Cordova to jump in the race shortly thereafter.

While Presinzano fell just short of 50 percent plus one on November 7th, a contest that also included former Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini – who came in a distant third – he managed to come out on top again this evening

He had the support of Bhalla’s main political adversaries on the council: 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, and 6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino.

Outgoing Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33), who was thrown off the Democratic party line by Bhalla in favor of John Allen, also made late endorsement for Presinzano.

The runoff was far more contentious than the vast majority of occurred when the other five ward seats were on the line last month, with allegations of vote-by-mail fraud, an illegal rent hike at a home owned by Presinzano, and a nearly double digit rent increase potentially on the horizon for Marineview Plaza.

That didn’t seem to hurt the winning candidates numbers much, if at all, hitting nearly the same number he did a month ago.

While Cordova had the backing of Council President Emily Jabbour, Councilman-at-Large Joe Quintero, and 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, with Quintero largely leading the charge with Bhalla at a conference out of the country, he still came up just short.

Now, the council will again look exactly how it did before November 7th: four members in opposition of the mayor, four who are Bhalla allies, and the wild card being 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo.

Although Russo had acted as the swing vote often in the past two years, he will likely be less inclined to work with Bhalla and his administration as he sets his eyes on the mayor’s seat in 2025.

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  1. Congratulations City Councilman Elect Paul Persinzano.
    Mayor Ravi Bhalla and all his political team with all his money could not get his puppet elected to his City Council. It was a good day for democracy in Hoboken.

  2. We might atribute this pretty convincing win to 3 factors; One, Paul appears to be an honest guy who simply wants to serve his constituents and, in light of all the nonsense that takes place here in Hudson County, that is pretty refreshing. Two, Rafi turned out to be a bit of an enigma, a somewhat reluctant candidate who never seemed to get his footing. He did not answer questions about his background, or really separate himself from the adminstration, leading many to see him as yet another rubber stamp. Three, the public may have finally grown weary of Team Bhalla. The last ditch efforts to smear Presinzano were a reminder of what an unsavory bunch we have running this City.
    Perhaps this win signals that there are better days ahead. Let’s hope.

  3. Disbarment? Is anyone going to step up and request the NJ Bar association to look into Joe Quintero? He makes a living covering up financial crimes, and abused his powers as a councilman to try and fail to stir up false allegations? Can we trust someone like this to be a licensed attorney, or a councilman?

    • No, we can’t trust Joe Q any more than we can trust our current mayor who, you may recall, was censured by the NJ Supreme Court for “unethical conduct” and was also implicated in at least two other ethics violations. I hope Paul Presinzano’s win in the First Ward is just the first step in a major turnover of our current administration.

  4. These 4 are what I believe to be a group of the most vicious disseminators of lies, slander and vicious tactics
    Joe, who emerged from nothingness is now tainted for the remainder of his short career and soon to be a blip on the history

    Fallick, could have achieved far more success with rent control without sliming Paul, exposing his tenant’s PRIVATE INFORMATION ( isn’t she a Realtor)?
    The fear mongering, viciousness and all out venom she injected int this race sounds like she learned from the slumlords she says she fights…. Are there any slum lords in Hoboken anyway?
    I had respect for NJ appleseed before I knew she is involved there.
    Wonder if they know that she exposed tenant info?

    Vijay, good old Joe Crowley failure Vijay . Maybe his blowdryer effected his brain?

    And CAstellano, the Russo Matriarch who covered and made excuses for the most corrupt administration Hoboken ever had…

      • After the nasty sexism his pals through at a woman supporting Paul, Kenny the double dipper showed his bias.
        How can Paul and his supporters not fear that the HPD will respond if they need help ?

  5. Finally, as a first ward, resident, I get to have a council person that will actually answer my phone calls and care about the town. Heck, we have a council person who actually lives in town again.