Sources: Bruce Alston in talks to replace Ridley, run on the HCDO line in LD-31

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Following Denise Ridley’s withdrawal of her candidacy in the District 31 Assembly race, Jersey City businessman Bruce Alston is now in talks to run on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line with Bayonne attorney Nicholas Chiaravalloti, sources told Hudson County View.

Bruce Alston

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Alston, who spoke out against the HCDO at a press conference on Wednesday where he announced Bayonne firefighter Pat O’Brien as his running mate, also told Hudson County View back in September (when he announced his candidacy) that “the smartest thing [the] HCDO could do is give Bruce Alston the line.”

In an unforeseen turn of events, O’Brien, a neighbor of Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis that worked on his mayoral campaign last year, pulled out of the race the next day and endorsed Chiaravalloti.

In a subsequent interview in January, shortly after considering dropping out of the race, Alston said “I forgive the HCDO on their mistake” for not choosing him to run on the line.

Meanwhile, Ridley, a former aide to Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-31), said she lost the support of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop when someone within the HCDO reneged on a deal with him.

As has been widely reported, sources from within the organization leaked that Ridley was the compromise pick between Fulop and State Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), but Fulop would no longer support her candidacy since Mainor was out collecting signatures for his petitions for nomination.

Ridley was endorsed by the HCDO at a March 6 press conference at the Brennan Court House.

In the event that Alston gets the line, it would essentially kickoff a civil war between Fulop and Cunningham. Alston ran against Cunningham in the 2011 Democratic primary election for her state Senate seat, and although Cunningham won convincingly, it has created an icy relationship between the two ever since.

Other candidates seeking the District 31 Assembly seat currently include former Jersey City Democratic Chairman Joe Conte, Jersey City Police Officer Ray Regalado, and Jersey City Police Det. Dejon Morris.

Petitions for nomination are due at the Hudson County Clerk’s Office on March 30.

Alston did not return calls seeking comment, while Fulop and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, also the Chairman of the HCDO, did not return requests for comment.

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