With Branco challenging Romano for county commissioner, Hoboken GOP raises $27k


Ahead of one of the few Hudson County matchups in the November 7th general election, the Hoboken GOP raised $27,106 in the second quarter as their chairman, Joe Branco, attempts to unseat Hudson County Commissioner Chair Anthony Romano (D-5).

Hudson County Commissioner Chair Anthony “Stick” Romano (left) and his upcoming opponent, 5th District Republican County Commissioner nominee Joe Branco back on September 24th, 2016. Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The local Republican committee came into the second quarter with just $9,180.52, but now has $29,100.16 cash on hand after amping things up between April 1st and June 30th, according to their July 17th report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC).

Their largest donation came from New Jersey Republican State Committee Chair Bob Hugin, who wrote a check for $2,500 on May 18th, campaign finance records show.

Additionally, Michael Flett, who ran a competitive albeit unsuccessful campaign for council-at-large effort in 2017 donated $1,300, with the Hoboken Police Civic Association donating the same amount, which was matched by Pavel Sokolov – the executive secretary of the committee.

Sokolov is also Branco’s campaign manager for the upcoming county race and most of the donations were for the party’s annual spring golf outing.

Romano, who became chairman of the county commissioner board in April, does not have any 2023 reports available on ELEC’s website, but he told HCV he has about $48,000 cash on hand.

He also said that he plans to kick his campaign into high gear shortly, with three upcoming fundraisers scheduled.

As for Branco, he said that he has not opened a commissioner candidate account yet, but plans to do a golf outing in October and is in the process of scheduling a campaign kickoff in September as well.

While Romano had a closer than expected primary matchup, besting progressive activist Ron Bautista by about 6.48 percentage points, or 219 votes, he is still favored in navy blue Hudson County in November.

The last time Hudson County Republicans won county seats, then called freeholders, was when Octavio Alfonso and Roger Dorian defeated Democratic incumbents from North Bergen and Hoboken, respectively, in the red wave of Ronald Reagan back in 1984.

The matchup is one of just three contested county commissioner races (there are nine seats) this fall and has the potential to be a grudge match.

Branco and Romano were political allies for years through 2016, for example both backing the Parents United Board of Education slate against the Forward Together team supported by then-Mayor Dawn Zimmer (the latter ended up sweeping the race).

However, in 2017, when Romano was simultaneously successfully re-elected freeholder and finished in a distant third in the Hoboken mayoral contest, he and Branco had a falling out and the two have been on opposite sides politically ever since.

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  1. I have witnessed Joe Branco’s impact in the community. I know how committed he is to both affordable housing and infrastructure. He came from humble beginnings and does not forget that. He will be a great commissioner.

  2. Branco is a proven winner and he delivers. Glad he’s giving Romano a run here.

    The fox that chases two rabbits gets none, Stick. Please come clean on Ravi’s true interest: his own political career beyond Hoboken. Old Hoboken is watching. And we vote.

  3. It wasn’t long ago this gadfly was donating ice for Romano and the HCDO team events, attempting to be put on former and now indicted Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia’s staff
    and kissing up to Cammarano and then Zimmer

    Thankfully Zimmer supported Giattino and spared Hoboken if this wannabe thug

        • To New York is what his ancestors said, coming from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Puerto Rico to the United States. Hopefully they didn’t get Sore-asses because they might have traveled by boat or plane.

          • Are Joe and Pavel real republicans or Or maybe just a opportunists like the past CROOKS JOE Supported like Cammarano, Campos, Garcia…

          • Since you mentioned it, your ” TO NY” is a well known racial slur used against italians in the early 1900’s

  4. Anthony Romano is making over $220,000 a year having 3 government sources of income. As commissioner he makes over $48,000 (which is a part-time job) and that does not include the government car they give him to ride around in and the gas for it. His other part-time job is Hoboken’s Public Safety Director which he earns $50,000 for and then he gets his police pension of over $122,000 a year.

    This doesn’t count the fact that he lives in subsidized housing in Marineview and then owns a bar and has rental income from those properties, so net net he is probably clearing over $300,000 in subsidized housing. Must be nice with all those part-time no show jobs.

    And if you want to check the NJ pension database it is below, just remember that his name is Anthony L. Romano.


  5. Romano is toast!
    With the team behind the Kids First campaign and the June Primary, there’s no way Anthony can win.
    Pavel is a political genius and anyone who underestimates him will be sorry!
    Just ask his employer at Advance Media
    The Newhouse Family would be lost without his business and Accounting acumen
    He’s a rising star and we should all be lucky he’s moved to Hoboken!

    He is the James Carville and Mary Matalin of political steady all rolled into one human genius

    Thank you for bestowing your support on our fair city- you are our savior!

  6. In a scripted attack on Hoboken Councilwoman Jen Giattino’s residency, 6-2 Elected Democratic Committeeman Joe Branco appears at the City Council on October 19, 2013. Giattino’s home was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and her family is temporarily displaced (4 streets away) due to flood remediation to her home. Her family’s tragedy is being exploited by political opponents who now wish to steal her Council seat, cruelly alleging she has “moved away”. She has not. When garden level home is done and safe for her children to return, the family is moving back.

    • Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and in this case, Branco was right. Giattino’s was one of hundreds of houses that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, which the councilwoman used as an opportunity to do a complete gut renovation, including the addition of an entire floor to the townhouse. During the renovation, she lived in the 5th Ward, and claimed she had the OK to do that from the city’s attorney, but even when asked, she produced no documents to prove it, and the city’s attorney stayed mum on the issue publicly. She lied to her constituents and illegally resided outside her ward for 2 years. The law is clear, and the facts are true.

  7. Joe is a joke. For all his bluster about how deep his convictions are about blah blah blah, he has literally had every alliance you can possibly have and been on every side of every conflict. The only consistency his his unfailing commitment to the one thing he truly stands for — himself.

    First he was with Cammarano. Then he was with Zimmer. Then he wanted to be appointed to the HHA and didn’t get it, so he immediately hated Zimmer. Then he was with Giattino. Then he wanted her to completely ban food trucks because they competed with his businesses, but her ordinance regulated them but stopped short of outright banning them, so he immediately hated her. Then he was with Carmelo. Then he hated Carmelo. Etc., etc., etc.

    You gotta give the guy credit, he knows what he wants, and he goes after it, shamelessly and relentlessly. But what’s funny is, for all his bluster, butt-kissing, threats, nagging, chest-beating, team-changing, money-throwing, whatever resources he decides to apply to his agenda — he never, ever wins. I can’t think of a single time this clown got what he wants. By the time he’s done with his schtick, he’s driven so many people crazy and burned so many bridges that he just isn’t worth dealing with, plain and simple.

    He’s not worth it. He’s a nobody, and will continue to be a nobody, forever. To the point where Stick Romano, literally no one’s idea of a good public servant (and someone Joe has broken bread with and sucked up to PLENTY of times when it suited him), looks like a pretty good option for the first time ever. Go figure.

  8. Fair point. We justifiably bash Republicans in Washington for their bad behavior and ethical lapses – but continue to look the other way when it comes to state and local officials, who are largely Democrats. Romano has how many public income sources? How many Hoboken and JC Mayors have gone to jail? Bob Janiszewski? Amy DeGise? Bhalla’s censureship. The list goes on….yet we spend our time hyperventilating over a former tavern owner.

  9. Ask Joe’s Neighbors
    they just love his banners and giant flag trucks….Especially when they are close to the crosswalks on 7th and Bloomfield Sts.

  10. Why is Paval and Joey Branco hanging with Vijay and the Ravi team lately?
    What were they promised to support a left ing candidate against moderate Paul Presenzano?

  11. Branco wants so bad to be a somebody, but just can’t cut the mustard. Stick is going to outclass this jackoff. Branco has changed sides more times than anyone can count. His latest stunt is becoming a Trump Republican and attacking our diverse community. He needs to wake up and smell the coffee. He’s not even a has been. He’s a never was. In November he will be toast.