Solomon joins DeFusco in calling for Hoboken to bring back runoff elections


Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon joined Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco in calling for the Mile Square City to bring back runoff elections at a fundraiser for the latter elected official last night. 

“I already see a long list of accomplishments and the one that I think is near and dear to my heart is the runoff referendum that you all are about to have,” Solomon said to crowd of around 75 people at Pier 13 last night.

“I would not be an elected official without a runoff. So I came in second in my election in Jersey City, and I won because all the other candidates that didn’t qualify for a runoff, I spoke to their supporters and they supported me over my opponent.”

Solomon was elected in December of last year, besting Rebecca Symes in the runoff after Ward E residents saw a crowded six-candidate ballot the month prior.

Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise, who was also in attendance last night, doubled down on the notion that runoff elections are important during today’s episode of Hudson County Review Live.

“First off, having referendums are so important and we need to educate our community more on how they can have different initiatives, referendums on the ballot and really feel like one vote matters,” she began.

” … I do think that having the runoffs is a good idea. I think you should win by the 50 percent plus one, it should be by the majority – that’s not knocking anyone that’s won an election without having the 50 percent plus one … you want to know that you represent as much of the community as possible.”

In last year’s Mile Square City mayoral contest, Ravi Bhalla won with about a third of the vote in a field of six candidates.

DeFusco finished in second place and with no runoffs since 2012, there was no head-to-head clash between Bhalla and DeFusco in December.

While Bhalla vetoed placing the runoff question on the November 6th ballot back in January, citing “massive vote-buying in the past, the council overrode his veto at their next meeting, leaving the decision in the hands of the voters.

Last night, DeFusco called on Bhalla to sing a different tune when it comes to runoffs.

“I want to reassure you, and I want a callout to the mayor: this is the time to bring everybody together. We can disagree on politics, but we can always agree on policy,” the councilman said.

“We need to fight for Hoboken and everybody who is here is fighting for a better democracy and a better Hudson County.”

The campaign to bring back runoff elections in Hoboken looks like it will be an aggressive one, given that a new political non-profit, New Jersey Democracy in Action was distributing flyers at the event.

“New Jersey Democracy in Action is a coalition of citizens advocating for fair and open elections in the state to promote the values of equality, justice, reform, transparency and opportunity,” their mission statement says.

A city spokesman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Other dignitaries in attendance included Councilwoman-at-Large Vanessa Falco, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, HCDO Executive Director Susan Ragheb, Hoboken Housing Authority Chair Dave Mello and former Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia, among many others.

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    • Just like they went down when Zimmer beat Campos (then had to vacate her seat to avoid people hauled into court)….and just like when Zimmer lost to Cammarano. The votes went down in total but up for both remaining sides.
      Who would have thought that back when Zimmer vacated her seat it wouldn’t be the last time she pulled a stunt to avoid people on the stand.

      • Actually you’re mistaken. The total turnout went up dramatically in each Zimmer Campos race. Thats because the first round was in may not november. By far the biggest turnout was in the final race in November because if you want to maximize voter participation you hold your elections on election day in November.

        If you want to minimize turnout you hold a runoff in December.

        For the DeFusco, Fisher, Ramos team fewer voices are better and that’s what this referendum is really all about.

        • So his opponent couldn’t get voters to turn out and vote for her?

          Well, that’s too bad. He won.

          Ravi is clearly scared to death of Hoboken voters deciding an election. So sad.

          • So you are literally agreeing with the point that you and JenMikeTiffPeter think that fewer voices are a positive outcome and not a failure of the system?

            And those very same Hoboken voters already decided this issue. Too bad MikeTiffPeterJen think they know better than the voters. So sad and smug.

          • If your voice matters for a candidate, then go vote for them.

            A no show doesn’t count as a “voice” that matters. You Ravibots can’t force people to vote for him. Ravi knows he can’t win and these Ravibots got that memo.

            Go cry me a river. Dumbass Ravibots.

        • But Solomon won without a shadowy PAC like stronger foundations that lobbies against rent control and FOR skyscrapers
          Solomon also wasn’t forced to vacate his seat

          Solomon also raised his own money, unlike Bhalla that took money from PACs, law firms and outside interests that dont vote or live here.

          We Ravi bots don’t want an election, we want to save our money for Ravi’s assembly seat

    • Maybe you would be credible if you spelled the jersey city reformers name correctly ?
      Seems the Bhallabots and Shadow Stalkers love knocking true independent reformers like the James Solomon’s and the Ocasio Cortez’s of the new political world order.
      Based on the zero Hispanic skates Ravi has been tied to over his tenure he never had much of an affinity for other minorities unless it grabbed him a headline
      As for runningmates his slate has been whiter than the sheets at Trumps hotels

      • I apologize to Mr. Solomon for misspelling his name in one post. However misspelling his name doesn’t change the fact that he received fewer votes winning in December than he received finishing 2nd in November. I have no idea whether Mr. Solomon or Ms. Symes (his opponent) was the more worthy candidate and I am in no position to judge Mr. Solomon’s job performance so far (any more than he is in a position to judge whether Mr. DeFusco is worthy of re-election in a Hoboken ward race). But the fact is that he was elected in a runoff destined by it’s timing to have a bare minimum of voter participation. That is not a knock on Mr. Solomon. He ran a good race, played by the existing rules, raised and spent as much or more than his opponent, and won the election.

        But if you genuinely believe “more voices are better” then that is not a system you would choose to have in place even if in this particular case you felt Mr. Solomon was the better choice.

        If you prefer to have runoff elections in which few people vote because you feel that November elections are dominated by “low information voters” unworthy of the franchise, then be honest enough to say so.

        And try to stick to the topic. Your posts as usual show you to be nasty, nutty and seemingly incapable of intelligent discourse.

  1. I sure would love to know who is bankrolling “New Jersey Democracy in Action.” All of the construction and real estate interests that are behind DeFusco? Sacco and his cronies? Maybe some petty uptown ex-reformers?

    It’s nice that DeFusco and TiffJenPeter think they know better than the voters that already approved the elimination of runoffs. A legit grass roots group of citizens organized and succeeded? That can’t be allowed to stand.

    And DeFuscoJenPeterTiff send a message to all those uppity citizens about future referenda–don’t do something that goes against the connected cronies, or they’ll undo it with a stroke of a pen. Forget all the effort you put in to get signatures and get your message out. That effort is meaningless in the face of a petty council.

    We’ve all seen what happens without the runoffs–the flood of connected candidates who water down the percentages to ensure a runoff, then miraculously all coalesce behind the “face” candidate. Quelle surprise. Then another election with a fewer voters, throw in some good old fashioned vote buying, and maybe you can get yourself a win.

    Good job resisting that reform JenPeterTiff!

    • What are you talking about? Preventing runoffs only permits the candidate with the most money to win. How is the reform? Runoffs gives a viable independent candidate the chance to take on the establishment. Solomon ran against an establishment developer-backed candidate and lost, but then spent the following three weeks building bridges and convincing the supporters of those who didn’t win, to support him. That’s actual reform, actual democracy, not this peddling for law firms and state interests that Ravi is doing and putting in the name of reform.

      • Please explain why you think having to run twice is cheaper for candidates than running just once. It seems pretty obvious an extra election costs the candidates twice as much.

        FYI Mr Solomon outspent his opponent. And he got fewer votes winning in December than he got losing in November so he didnt add to his constituence.

        Fewer voices are better! Why don’t you just tell the truth and use the slogan.

        • If a candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, then there is no need for a runoff. Ideally two, maybe three candidates run and the leading candidate wins on first ballot. End of story.

          In a six person race it’s absurd to think that a candidate should be elected with 32 percent of the vote. In the case of Ravi Bhalla in 2017, he had $80,000 in mysterious Super PAC money funneled in and a racist flier used to trash the runner up in that election, Mike DeFusco.

          32-percent Bhalla is real worried that the people might actually decide, so let’s see what Mr “October Surprise” has in store for us this year….

          Without runoffs a candidate like Ravi Bhalla can divide the electorate much more easily and with the resources of his politically connected cronies, all looking for city contracts…it’s what will happen.

          Perhaps the mayor’s office should get off commenting on here and get back to work?

          • Thought that all city contracts technically belong to Ravi.

            He can put them on a trading block in NJ to bait and switch for goodies with others or his political cronies.

            Oh he’s doing that already? Well who’s going to stop him? His buddy running the NJ AG office?

        • But ask Ravi and planning commissioners what’s better? Like who’s the best lawyer to use when seeking approvals.

          I hear Ravi has an “Angies List” for Pay to Play

        • Because Ravi will cost us more IN office than a 2nd Election to keep anyone winning office with a mere, embarrassing 32%

          Send in the Lawyers… Where are the Clowns… Don’t bother they’re here in city hall

      • And having to pay for a second election doesn’t benefit the party that has the most money? Are you telling me that the scrappy upstart is helped by having to run multiple campaigns?

      • Who said Ravi is Reform?

        Ravi is for Ravi, reform, uh no. Look at his ugly record where the NJ Supreme Court stepped in and had to slam him to return an employee’s money. That’s not reform. That’s not even common decency!

        The NJ Supreme Court had to step in and stop Ravi from ripping an employee off.

        Holy Shite, Ravi is a clear and present danger!

  2. Who cares, let’s voters decide based on facts!

    What is everybody afraid of? That Ravi can’t win without crowding and confusing races and then using hate to divide our his benefit? What does Sacco have to do with this? Much like every other mayor in the state, he knows how to win elections with a majority of voters, unlike 32 percent Bhalla….

    On a community group getting involved—nobody seemed to care when the pro-developer “stronger foundations” poured 80k into Bhalla’s campaign, spewing lies and hate days before an important election. I’d rather have an organization that educates about why runoffs are important than a shadowy PAC that spews venom days before an important election.

    “Ravi-bots” is a funny term, because they will do and say anything to protect their guy — they should save their time finding excuses and defending online and demand him to come clean on his ethical lapses.

    • In the same sentence you write “who cares’ [about the facts presented which you can’t refute because they are easily documented facts] and then go on to say “let the voters decide based on facts.”. Whi h “facts” should the public be considering? The true ones or the untrue ones you made up?

      How Trump/Giulianian of you. Truth is not truth. Let’s look to the “alternative facts.”

      Fewer Voices are Better!!

      Another fact – Tiffanie Fisher didn’t get 50% plus 1 in her 2015 council race. Do you think a runoff would have saved her money or required her to spend more? Inquiring my DS would like to know.