While last night’s gubernatorial contest between Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy and upstart Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli is still too close to call, insiders are already wondering what Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop will do in 2025.
“I don’t know if I’d like to go over 70, I’d like to go over 80 or 90, but the reality is that over 50 is great and your in an environment today where there’s an anti-incumbency sentiment everywhere in the country,” Fulop said in an interview at his victory party at the Zeppelin Hall Biergarten last night.
“And so just getting a 2-1 margin is a huge validation for the work we’ve been doing over the last eight years.”
36,600 ballots were cast in the Jersey City mayoral contest between Fulop and challenger Lewis Spears and Fulop secured 24,858 votes, just under 68 percent, to Spears’ 11,597, according to tallies from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.
With the win, Fulop is the first third term mayor in Jersey City since Democratic power broker Frank Hague nearly a century ago. He also went 6-2 in the city council races, losing Wards E and F and Ward C going to a runoff, as HCV first reported.
He and Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey called the west side race last night, which appears to be validated by the county clerk’s office: showing the incumbent up 2,055 to Joel Brooks’ 1,780.
After gearing up for a gubernatorial primary run in 2017, Fulop ultimately didn’t put his name on the ballot and endorsed Murphy, the eventual winner.
Murphy is leading Ciattarelli my several thousand votes and is projected to win once all vote-by-mails are tabulated, but no one is expecting to call the race any time soon.
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D), who has served in the powerful leadership post since 2010, is projected to lose to Republican challenger Edward Durr in what would be a massive upset, especially since Durr spent just $153 on his campaign.
Furthermore, state Senator Vin Gopal (D-11) is losing to Republican challenger Lori Annetta by less than 500 votes with about three percent of the vote still out there, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Should they both get upset, Fulop would certainly rank high on the statewide contender list that also includes Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11).
The mayor expressed surprised when told that there was already chatter about him running for governor in 2025 before stating his focus is solely in Jersey City, though stopped short of ruling it out.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do here, so I would just say look, we’ll see where things go, but the priority is gonna be Jersey City I’m not gonna take my eye off the ball here. It ultimately is about doing the best job here, we’ve got some policy initiatives that I’m very excited about, and that’s where we’re gonna go.”
Fulop had the support of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, SEIU 32BJ, and the Amalgamated Transit Union in a bid for his third term, labor support that would be critical for anyone looking to run for office statewide.