Romano and DeFusco’s Madcap Scramble to Keep Raia and Russo out of the Hoboken Mayoral Contest


He’s been saying it for while.

3rd Ward councilman Mike Russo.

He wasn’t going to run this year, but he planned to wait until Mayor Dawn Zimmer left office and then he was going to run for mayor in 2021.

But Zimmer’s leaving at the end of this term, throwing Russo’s plans into turmoil.

Once the young, suspenders-wearing lion of the bowler hat retinue that included Peter Cammarano, Ruben Ramos, and Chris Campos, Russo – son of former Mayor Anthony Russo – still commands alpha male attention in Hoboken.

A source today told InsiderNJ that he will no doubt look closely at the developing contest and make a decision about his play. so will supermarket maven Frank Raia, the perennial candidate of the born and raised club. Already in the contest and making a play for the firefighter and cop crowd, Councilman Mike DeFusco doesn’t want Raia or Russo to get in the race any more than he welcomes the presence of Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.

Romano’s due to get in tomorrow, according to a Hudson source.

Now both he and DeFusco – and their lieutenants – are trying to make sure no one else gets in the race who might chew into the anti-Zimmer base and give an advantage to Councilman Ravi Bhalla, Zimmer’s hand-picked candidate.

Raia, DeFusco, Russo and Romano all in the contest would capsize the born and raised guys. To be clear, DeFusco offers a more complex candidacy (he’s not born and raised, and he originally ran on Zimmer’s ticket), but a critical portion of his base derives from that wing of the city.

On Bhalla’s side, the councilman’s supporters want to make sure Council President Jen Giattino doesn’t decide to jump in the contest and split the so-called reformer vote carefully cultivated by Zimmer.

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