Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis has picked William B. Sampson IV, a crane operator at the Port of Bayonne and a union member, as his candidate for State Assembly in the 31st district.
Sampson, 32, is expected to replace Assembly Majority Whip Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne) on the Demcoratic organization line.
Chiaravalloti, once a top political ally of Davis, has fallen out of favor. Davis told party leaders that he wants to exercise his unwritten prerogative to name Bayonne’s representative in the legislature.
Sampson is a member of the International Longshoreman’s Association Local 1588 and is one of the union’s political liaisons. He works at the Global Container Terminal in Bayonne.
“Will Sampson is somebody who will bring a new energy, vitality and perspective to the State Assembly,” said Davis.
Davis called Sampson “well-equipped to serve as a 21st century leader for Bayonne and the entire 31st district.
If elected, Sampson would become the first Black legislator from Bayonne.
While Democrats, including Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin lobbied Davis in support of Chiaravalloti, Hudson County Demcoratic leaders are prepared to honor an agreement that gives the seat to the mayor of Bayonne.
Chiaravalloti went to the legislature in 2015 after Davis picked him to replace Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-Bayonne). O’Donnell had been an ally of Mayor Mark Smith, who was unseated by Davis in 2014.