Examining Fulop’s Partial 2021 Ticket Launch

Watterman

More than 600 people attended the Feb. 27 unveiling of Steven Fulop’s partial council ticket.

Oddly enough, they had to travel to Bayonne’s Chandelier catering hall where they generated in excess of $253,000 towards the 2021 campaign.

At $125 per ticket, this was a bargain, and brought out a nearly complete collection of political big wigs including County Clerk Jr. Maldonado, a host of Hudson County Freeholders, more than a hat trick of Assembly people, and loyal followers from throughout Jersey City.

Assembly members Raj Mukherji, Nick Chiaravalloti, and Angela McKnight, along with Freeholders Bill O’Dea. Anthony Romano, Kenny Kopacz attended.

“There were a lot of people,” Romano said, who is looking over his shoulder for a potential challenger for his seat on the freeholder board.

Fulop
Fulop

He has already been promised support by the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO). Having Fulop’s support would be great additional insurance.

The partial ticket posed no surprises. Fulop made the formal announcement that President Joyce Watterman, Ward A councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, councilman-at-Large Danny Rivera, and Ward F councilman Jermaine Robinson would be running with him.

Watterman, Ridley, Prinz-Arey, and Rivera already have an election committee and have started seeking funds as well.

Coincidently, this coincided with Fulop’s birthday as did a similar event last– year, only this year participants did not bring out a birthday cake, something that apparently embarrassed Fulop when they did so last year.

But the live band did, however, break out with a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” to which participants at the event sang along.

This is on top of the $1.3 million political war chest Fulop has already accumulated.

While he spoke about the ticket and the future at the event, in a later interview he talked more about how different his current administration is from the one that he assembled just after being elected mayor in 2013.

“I think we have a great group of professionals in place that are going to help the city move ahead,” he said.

During his first term in office, many of the people who were placed in key positions had been political supporters, and perhaps not the best suited for the jobs to which they were assigned.

Over the years, especially during the last two years, Fulop has reassigned or replaced many of these people, seeking, he said, to find the best person for each job.

“I’ve made mistakes,” he admitted. “But I think I’ve learned from those mistakes and that we’re in a better position now than we have ever been in.”

While in the past, Fulop laid out big plans for the future, many of the things he hopes to accomplish with the next term would involve finishing some of these up, such as helping to fund the schools, and to create affordable housing, he said.

Rumor has it that Councilman Michael Yun might be invited onto the ticket in Ward D – a kind of “if you can beat him, join him” story. Yun has managed to outwork and outwit his opponents through the last two elections.

A recent Fulop-Yun financial rescue plan for the school district shows a closer relationship between Yun and Fulop.

Although Fulop appears to be on the same page as Ward E Councilman James Solomon in a number of issues, rumor has it that Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut may be invited onto the Fulop ticket in Ward E.

Hudnut did appear with Fulop at the event suggesting he was as yet the unnamed candidate for Ward E.

This leaves two question marks?

Reports suggest that Fulop may also invite Councilman Richard Boggiano onto the ticket as well – but Boggiano, long a critic of the administration, may fear alienating his key supporters if he runs with Fulop.

We shall see. Boggiano was at the event, although not announced as a candidate.

Since Fulop has made it clear he will not invite at-large Councilman Rolando Lavarro on the ticket, some observers believe Fulop will ask Amy DeGise to run instead.

Such an invitation would go along way to healing the wounds left by the 2018 attempted coup against Amy’s father, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.

There are currently no announced candidates against Fulop, although Fulop said he isn’t waiting to find out who.

But there will likely be contenders for council seats and if opponents manage to wrestle control of the council way from his supporters, it could go far to undermine his agenda.

Because of an ongoing feud with members of the Board of Education as well as the council’s move to put a referendum for an appointed board, the Board could become a breeding ground for opposition.

Fulop has no shortage of potential political enemies, but money such as he has been able to raise could discourage people from running against him or his ticket.

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