Romano racked up at least $77k in debt during failed Hoboken mayoral run


Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) racked up at least $77,000 in campaign debt during his failed mayoral run, according to recent filings with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC). 

Anthony Romano


By John Heinis/Hudson County View

According to a 20-day post election report dated November 29th, Romano loaned his ELEC account $30,700 on six different dates between July 5th and October 15th.

Comparatively, he reported raising just $22,500 for the mayoral contest in the last four weeks leading up to the election.

During that same time frame, Romano spent $4,500 on media buys with Joey Creative, gave $8,500 to his Team Romano account and made a $1,200 donation to the Brian Stack Civic Association on October 27th, the report says.

Back in July, Romano inadvertently entered a blood feud with Stack, whose Senate district includes Hoboken, after a longstanding political nemesis attended a fundraiser for “Stick.”

However, Stack appeared to let bygones be bygones days before the November 7th municipal elections as he and Romano took several photos together at the annual Stack civic association extravaganza at Schuetzen Park.

As it turns out, Romano also cut a fairly generous check to help ease the tension.

At the end of the day, the freeholder, who appeared on the November 7th ballot twice, spent more than he could bring in, since although he reported a cumulative fundraising total of $184,065, his outstanding balance was -$4,378.

Furthermore, a review of his Team Romano account, also filed with ELEC on November 29th, shows that the retired police captain shelled out $21,000 after the election to cover previous expenses.

The loan came on five different dates between November 14th and November 24th, according to the ELEC filing.

Based on the report, this was slightly less than what the team reported raising in the last month leading up to the election: $26,800.

The Team Romano account, which reported raising $82,725 overall, also paid another $3,820 to Joey Creative for media on November 5th and ultimately had an outstanding balance of -$12,124.

Between the two accounts, Romano reported spending at least $76,702 of his own money on the mayoral campaign.

Speaking to Hudson County View over the phone, Romano admitted he underestimated how expensive the race would be, but said he didn’t regret taking a shot at the mayor’s seat.

“I thought I had the support of many people and as I got into the race, I didn’t realize how expensive it would be, I thought I would’ve had more financial support but I didn’t,” Romano said.

“Would I do it again? If I didn’t run in this race, I’d probably be second guessing myself for the rest of my life. That said, it’s not over yet, I’ve still got bills that need to be paid.”

“He came in a distant third place behind Mayor-elect Ravi Bhalla and 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco in the mayoral contest, but easily cruised to re-election as freeholder, securing another three-year term on the county board.

As we exclusively reported yesterday, over half a million dollars was spent on Bhalla’s campaign leading up to his historic win.

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  1. Romano spent about $280,000 between his two accounts. As the article points out, he invested a pretty tidy chunk of his own money though he did fundraise about $200,000.

    For those who claimed he was running as a spoiler at the behest of another candidate this makes it pretty clear that was BS.

    Mr. Romano deserves credit for taking his shot and handling his defeat with class despite the substantial personal cost he incurred.

    The same cannot be said for Councilman DeFusco or Councilwoman Giattino. Hopefully they will learn from the example set by Freeholder Romano, accept the verdict of the voters as he has, and move on in the best interests of the City they still serve.

    • Hopefully, people will learn when you choose to take PAC money and run a dirty campaign it has a price. On January 1st, the price begins being paid.

      You can’t undo what you did with Ravi. Enjoy the taste.

      • Would you like to elaborate on that threat? You might want to consider that it is the people of Hoboken, not Mayor Bhalla who will pay the price if Councilmembers seek some kind of vengeance instead of doing the jobs they were elected and are paid to do. And the people of Hoboken won’t enjoy the taste at all.

        The Mason playbook didn’t work for Beth Mason so I’d be surprised and disappointed to see it dusted off and re-tried by people who ought to know better.

        • Lindalou – think “notTrans” is saying that Bhalla owes a lot of debts to a lot of ppl and that the taste of a politically connected attorney taking big-time money from a Super Pac who ran a dirty campaign on his behalf is not a pill Hoboken cares to swallow. Ravi lacks the charm of Dawn and though he has stan calling the shots, the mouthpiece isn’t as convincing in the lackluster 2.0 iteration. He can try, but he’s no Dawn.

          • Lots of “debts” owed as the campaign report shows. No one cares about Stan’s whining. The Bhalla campaign went scorched earth, live with it. Hoboken was sold off to the Stronger Foundations PAC. So Hoboken will pay the price in the payoff to NJ Transit and the big construction unions.

            The City Council members have no such debt and can act accordingly in the best interest of Hoboken. No amount of crying will change it.

        • Sorry dude. The meaning of the post was obvious. Those who seek vengeance rather than work with the mayor to move the city forward will have a pretty short shelf life. For those who actually understand math, the data speaks for itself. For those idiots who think 16% of the vote is a mandate to instruct, the 2019 ward races will provide a rude, mathematical awakening. Wake up and small the coffee. You can still be part of moving the city forward if you just take your heads out if your asses and consider what’s best for the city you serve.

          • The only person speaking about vengeance is Stan speaking in his best lindalou voice. Oh now he’s going to threaten all of Hoboken with 32.7% of the vote.

            Utterly hilarious.

          • Cunningham and Russo came up with child endangering resolution on bicycling. Crybaby Incorporated voted yes. The head crybaby even complimented Russo for it. They are making good on the threat.

        • You’re the one getting a reality check and only you spoke of vengeance. You and Ravi make Michael Russo the council president. If you can.

          I’ll wager you can’t.

          • First you say Ravi is making Russo council president. Then you say he can’t. All you ever do is speculate because no one will talk to you anymore but your fellow crybabies.

  2. Reading is fundamental – especially reading the dumb threat you yourself wrote in your first post. For those who understand math, it’s pretty obvious the Fisher faction gets to choose the CP. They can have one of their own Cunningham for the asking with the votes of Doyle and Jabbour. Will they choose to align with DeFusco and Ramos instead? Why would Fisher and Giattino prefer Ramos over their own ally Cunningham? And let’s be clear – if asked by Fisher and Giattino Peter will be happy to serve. If he declines it’s because Fisher and Giattino for some reason prefer Ramos over Cunningham.