With six candidates running for a council seat between Hoboken’s 5th and 6th Wards, the Mile Square City could see their first ever December runoff elections this year.
In the 5th Ward, attorney Phil Cohen, first time candidate Nicola Maganuco, a finance professional, and another newcomer, Tim Crowell, will be seeking to fill a vacant seat left by incumbent Peter Cunningham.
He announced in July that he would not seek re-election or “anoint” his successor. He currently appears poised to support Crowell at this point, but has not made any formal endorsement at this time.
Cohen, who unsuccessfully ran for freeholder in 2014, is running on Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s five-person slate and is largely considered the frontrunner right now.
Meanwhile, in the 6th Ward, incumbent Jen Giattino will face off with Cristen Cricco-Powell, also part of the Team Bhalla ticket, and Frank Rosner – who is running as an independent.
Last November, Hoboken voters elected to bring back runoffs by a nearly 3-to-1 margin after they had been eliminated via referendum back in 2012.
This year would be the first time a December runoff is possible though, with the last Hoboken runoff coming on June 9th, 2009, where Peter Cammarano defeated Dawn Zimmer by 161 votes in a razor-thin mayoral contest.
However, Cammarano would be arrested just 22 days later as part of Operation Bid Rig and Zimmer would end up serving mayor for two terms before Bhalla was elected in 2017.
Runoff elections occur in the event that any given candidate is unable to get over 50 percent of the vote (commonly referred to as “50 plus one), meaning that at least three candidates must be running for a runoff to be a possibility.
The other four ward races are all feature head-to-head contests: Mike DeFusco vs. Migdala Pagan-Milano in the 1st Ward, Tiffanie Fisher against Nora Martinez-Debenedetto in the 2nd Ward, Michael Russo facing off with Ron Bautista in the 3rd Ward and Ruben Ramos squaring off with Lisa Sprengle in the 4th Ward.