With former state Assemblyman Sean Connors gaining steam as the potential successor to late Jersey City Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, a former police colleague and council candidate, Jimmy Carroll, has entered the fold as a potential contender.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Connors, who served on the Jersey City Board of Education between 2009 and 2011 before getting elected to an assembly seat in the 33rd Legislative District, has already received the backing of Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano – a 46-year friend of Yun, who passed away on April 6th after a long bout with COVID-19.
“I spoke to Michael Yun’s son and his family, they agree, and they said that his father wished that too,” Boggiano said at Monday’s city council caucus meeting, as New Jersey Globe first reported.
Additionally, as of 5:15 p.m., a community petition started by Demetrius Terry has amassed 466 signatures asking for Connors to be appointed as the Heights council representative.
A retired Jersey City police detective who now works as a liaison for the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Connors has a unique history with the current administration.
Back in 2013, Connors unsuccessfully challenged Yun as a member of then-Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop’s mayoral ticket.
While Fulop was successful on the first ballot, Connors came up short in the runoff.
Four years later, Connors gave it another go in the next municipal election as an independent at-large council candidate, though was unable to win one of the three seats up for grabs – which were all won by members of Fulop’s ticket.
Then in 2018, Connors was a staunch supporter of Amy DeGise in her bid for the Hudson County Democratic Organization chairmanship against state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack. Fulop had come out as an early backer of Stack in that contest.
Sources with knowledge of the situation said that while Connors is seeking the council’s appointment, he is currently planning on running in the November special election regardless of what happens.
Patrick Ambrossi and Cynthia Hadjiyannis, two former key members of Yun’s 2013 campaign, and Riverview Neighborhood Association President Jocelyn Patrick have all publicly expressed an interest in the seat.
Meanwhile, Carroll, who is also an attorney, and Shawn “Sully” Thomas-Sullivan – a former local Democratic party chairman and Department of Public Works employee – are common names entering the mix behind the scenes since they have good working relationships with the mayor.
Working for the JCPD since 1995, Carroll was a political ally of former Mayor Glenn Cunningham and ex-Assemblyman Lou Manzo, giving another beloved late Heights Councilman, Bill Gaughan – the longest serving Jersey City councilman – a run for his money back in 2009.
On the other hand, Sullivan is a former Heights committee leader and the director of Division of the Neighborhood Improvement District.
The current Ward D leader, David Cruz, who has worked various campaigns for Fulop as well as Freeholders Anthony Romano, Joel Torres, and County Clerk E. Junior Maldonado, is also in the mix. He’s also the events coordinator for the Central Avenue SID.
At the moment, City Hall is giving serious consideration to Carroll, though a final decision is likely still a ways off, sources with knowledge of the situation told HCV.
The administration withdrew a measure to appoint Yun’s successor on Monday, meaning that the governing body won’t vote on his replacement until May 6th – unless a special meeting is called.
They have up to 30 days to appoint a new council representative under state statute.
Regardless of who is named to the seat, the Heights council member would then be on the November ballot in both 2020, a special election, and 2021 – for the scheduled municipal races.
In recent memory, a similar situation happened in Ward B: educator Chris Gadsden bested John Hallanan in a November 2016 special election, but was defeated by Mira Prinz-Arey – a member of Fulop’s ticket – in a December 2017 runoff.