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).
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.