Pre-June 6th Hudson High Jinks: All Eyes on LD31 and Bayonne’s Chiaravalloti
Intent on willing a contest into existence in order to foster a sense of excitement, and mildly jealous of a cratered NJGOP that at least is interesting – much the same the last days of Nero were interesting in Ancient Rome – Hudson Democrats have their eyes on the 31st District with two weeks remaining before Election Day on June 6th.
The Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) is supposed to be impenetrable, but a series of factors has the establishment jittery over the LD31 incumbents.
First of all, off-the-line challenger Kristin Zaddroga Hart is a Jersey City teacher who has the backing of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), an organization that apparently wants to take the energy it might have mustered against Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and muster it against Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31).
The teachers’ union does back Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-31), but he has other challenges. As if to show that their guy is indeed a friend of academia, the assemblyman’s pals rush-delivered the news yesterday that he had successfully defended his dissertation on higher education leadership at St. Peter’s University. But there was that story last week about Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis’ troubles as he attempts to get through the developing demotion derby toward his 2018 reelection campaign. Chiaravalloti is Davis, and Davis Chiaravalloti. If the forces mobilizing to run against Davis next year can muddy Chiaravalloti, they can get some traction in their stampede of city hall and ultimate prize Davis, or so runs the CW. Then there’s the longstanding tenuous nature of Bayonne to begin with, as Jersey city sources grumble that they should really have two LD31 seats in their city. But Chiaravalloti’s LD31 slate mate, McKnight has her own vulnerabilities, including a favorable disposition toward charter schools, which puts the NJEA target on her, and unfavorable relations with state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), who tops the ticket. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has taken to pounding on doors on a regular basis with McKnight – just in case, but one Hudson source said the NJEA has failed to drop significant resources in to boost Hart, and consequently it all adds up to little more than a soap opera.
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