Latinas United for Political Empowerment PAC took aim at Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla Wednesday over reports that he attempted to oust Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-Hoboken) with a non-Latina candidate.
“With Latina representation still severely lacking in our State Legislature, it is extremely disappointing that Mayor Ravi Bhalla is attempting to replace a sitting Latina legislator with a non-Latina candidate,” LUPEPAC President Patricia Campos-Medina said. “Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro has represented her constituents, the residents of one of the most heavily Hispanic districts in the state, with integrity and intelligence.”
Politifax New Jersey, an electronic newsletter, reported that Bhalla asked State Sen. and Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who is something of a power broker in the 33rd legislative district, if he could replace Chaparro.
Bhalla was reportedly told he could, but only with a Latina.
Chaparro is running for re-election unopposed in her primary, so clearly, a switch was never made.
While Bhalla lauded Chaparro and pledged to support her bid for a third term, he stopped short of denying an attempt to oust the assemblywoman, who works as a clerk in Hoboken.
“Assemblywoman Chaparro is an incredible asset to our city, and she has my full and unequivocal support for re-election,” Bhalla said. “We did explore her candidacy to run for City Council against Mike DeFusco, who has been a detriment to the 1st Ward and our city. I am Proud of my track record of elevating Latina Women to executive roles in my administration. To reiterate, she is and will continue to be a valued member of my Hoboken team.”
DeFusco and Bhalla have been at each other’s throats in one way or another since Bhalla defeated the councilman in the city’s 2017 mayoral race.
In January, Chaparro told the New Jersey Globe she was not ready to announce a re-election bid, citing the distance of election day.
“Check with me in a few weeks. We’ll see what happens,” Chaparro said at the time.
She told the New Jersey Globe in February that she’d run for re-election. It’s possible the Chaparro wasn’t sure she’d run for Assembly because she was considering a run at Hoboken City Council, but it’s unclear whether that was the case.