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Chiaravalloti drops bid for re-election after losing party support

Assemblyman says he is ‘frustrated and disappointed’

By David Wildstein, April 19 2021 10:02 am

Assembly Minority Whip Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne) has dropped his bid for re-election to a fourth term in the State Assembly.

“Unfortunately, I do not have the support of the Hudson County Democratic Organization to run for re-election,” Chiaravalloti said.  “I was informed by Chairwoman DeGise that because of an archaic deal made decades ago, she feels obligated to support (Bayonne) Mayor James Davis’ pick for the Assembly. Of course, I am frustrated and disappointed.”

Davis has replaced Chiaravalloti with William B. Sampson IV, a 32-year-old crane operator and member of the Longshoremen’s union. He’ll run with State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City) and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Jersey City) in the 31st district.

The Bayonne mayor has not publicly spoken about his reasons for dumping Chiaravalloti.

In dropping out of the race, Chiaravalloti bemoaned the circumstances of his departure.

“I believe I have done a good job in Trenton and that no one individual should dictate who represents the people of Bayonne and Jersey City in the New Jersey Legislature,” he said.  “Unfortunately, in the culture of Hudson County politics, there is no current process for me to present my record, no screening committees, no interviews, and no participation on the part of the elected Democratic committee members.

Still, Chiaravalloti took advantage of the same rules six years ago when Davis, the winner of the 2014 mayoral race – a campaign Chiaravalloti helped run – removed Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-Bayonne) from the Democratic organization line and replaced him with Chiaravalloti.

Chiaravalloti said the prospect of winning a Demcoratic primary off an organization line was too daunting.

“Running against the HCDO this year would mean running against Governor Phil Murphy. I believe the power of the line and the popularity of Governor Murphy would make it impossible to compete successfully,” Chiaravalloti said. “As a strong supporter of the Governor, I do not see any benefit to running against a ticket he leads. This election is too important. We need to continue the progress we have made and make New Jersey a stronger and fairer state by supporting Governor Murphy’s re-election.”

Chiaravalloti had filed nominating petitions to run anyway, likely as a way of holding out hope for a path to re-election.

Sampson issued a statement on Monday evening thanking Chiaravalloti “for his service to the residents of Bayonne and Jersey City over the years.”

“I’m grateful for the faith Mayor Davis has shown in me and the path God has put me on to serve the residents of LD 31 in the Assembly. While I’m mindful of the milestone my election to the Assembly will be, I know the person in the position is never as important as the people they represent,” Sampson said.  “I look forward to working with Governor Murphy, Senator Cunningham, and Assemblywoman McKnight in the coming months and always for the people.”

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