Basically bored by the statewide cycle and vaguely irritated with those purveyors of Murphy (55-26%) world who see fit to begin every conversation with an update on the number of days until the general election, as if New Jersey is collectively living a political cliffhanger, insiders have migrated to a real potboiler otherwise known as Hoboken.
It’s as if that mile square space had stretched to saran wrap the entirety of the state.
Today alone, Hudson County Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano entered the contest, an action counteracted by the expected entry into the race this evening of Council President Jennifer Giattino.
A cop by trade, Romano supposedly plays to that crowd of people who live in the city who still remember watching Frank Sinatra walking down the main drag with an ice cream cone in his hand. A ballet dancer turned hard-nosed businesswoman, Giattino plays to yups and waterfront tower power walkers.
“She’s Bret Schundler,” said a source, relentlessly in spin mode, seeking a reference to most readily smother the horror that Giattino – a Republican – might invoke in a 4-1 Democratic town. Schundler, of course, was that data-headed member of the GOP beloved in his home town of Jersey City right up to when statewide Republican politics devoured him and revealed an ideological streak too scary for Hudson County.
Nonetheless, he won in a divided field, and so can Giattino, the source insisted.
there are several key Democrats already jumping aboard the Giattino express.
Still, she has the additional challenge of retiring Mayor Dawn Zimmer backing Councilman Ravi Bhalla. Zimmer and Giattino have overlapping bases, or maybe as close to what can be called the same base. The fact that Zimmer backed Bhalla to replace her rankles Giattino. And it should. Bhalla begins the contest with an edge in the hunt for those heartbroken Zimmer backers.
Stick also starts well.
But he’s like the Dutchman with his thumb in the dike.
If he can keep fellow born and raised Councilman Mike Russo out of the contest, and Frank Raia out of the contest, and Perry Belfiore out of the contest, and anyone else with a glove personally autographed by the entire 1846 Knickerbockers club out of the contest, he could do great. He could win. He’s the only person standing in the contest right now on a base not perforated by someone who attempts to fulfill the same story line.
Bhalla cuts into Giattino. Giattino cuts into Bhalla.
Then there’s Councilman Mike DeFusco, who cuts into everyone else, as everyone else cuts into him. On paper, he’s the perfect candidate for Hoboken, an amalgam of a little bit of everybody.
Vowel on the end of the name: check.
Yuppie credentials: check.
Commuter credentials: check.
Zimmer base contacts: check.
Housing authority allies: check.
Openly gay: check.
There’s nothing unfulfilled in the projection of a human personality that absolutely conforms to some facet of the roughly 20 voting Hoboken types that roam the streets. In a way, DeFusco somewhat represents the reanimation of Peter Cammarano, prior to Cammarano’s crack-up. “He can go into the senior buildings and make his case to the old grandmothers,” a source told InsiderNJ. “He’s Fulop with a bedside manner.”
He’s also very sharp elbowed, immediately eviscerating both Bhalla and Giattino with quotes to InsiderNJ at a party last week in West new York just prior to going over and talking in animated fashion with the latter.
This afternoon, DeFusco drew a bead on Romano.