Teaneck Turmoil Haunts LD37 Contest

Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin

TEANECK – When a “hometown” guy or gal seeks higher office, it is customary for local party members to rally around the candidate. It’s the political equivalent of a home field advantage.

But not always.

In this politically-enlivened township, Alexandra Soriano-Taveras is seeking one of two Democratic nominations for state Assembly in LD-37.  She also chairs the Teaneck Democratic Committee, which strongly endorses her.

One committee member who disagrees is Mohammed Hameeduddin, who also happens to be a former mayor.

“She is not qualified,” Hameeduddin said in a phone conversation today, adding that Soriano-Taveras’s greatest accomplishment has been getting signatures on a petition.

And the former mayor said he felt that way before Soriano-Taveras’ “comments.”

This has made for another local dust-up.

Her “comments” revolve around a video clip from a protest last summer when Soriano-Taveras reportedly called for a boycott of businesses along Cedar Lane, one of the township’s main thoroughfares. Many of the businesses have Jewish owners.

In response, Soriano-Taveras has apologized, adding that the video clip has been taken out of context.

“I am sorry for any pain or offense this video may have caused and I renew my commitment to stand against hate and bigotry in all forms and at all times,” is part of what she said in a statement.

If one can put that aside, we come back to the local Democratic Committee.

Hameeduddin says some on the committee have taken the position that he should be asked to resign if he doesn’t back Soriano-Taveras’ Assembly candidacy.

This led Hameeduddin to muse about how it’s “just funny” that some progressives or liberals are so quick to take retribution for non-conformity.

On the other hand, Soriano-Taveras says in a text message that “no one has ever considered or requested that he resign.”

And just for the record, Hameeduddin answered with an emphatic “No” when asked if planned to resign.

In the interest of mentioning some of the “more important” stuff, Soriano-Taveras is running with Senate candidate Gordon Johnson, who is now in the Assembly. A second candidate for the Assembly who had hoped to have party establishment support, Palisades Park Mayor Christopher Chung, opted out of a run amid political pressure.

Soriano-Tavares also dropped out Wednesday.

Johnson is running against fellow Assembly member Valerie Vainieri Huttle, who wants an open primary.

This is a key political faceoff in that the winner is in line to replace the retiring Loretta Weinberg, one of the stalwarts of the senate.

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