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Here’s an early short list of possible Jersey City mayoral candidates in 2025

Fulop announcement that he won’t seek re-election, thought not unexpected, offers early start in race to succeed him

By David Wildstein, January 03 2023 9:46 am

Steve Fulop’s announcement that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term in 2025 jump starts the race to succeed him in what is now a wide open field to become the next mayor of Jersey City.

With development booming, and Fulop likely to seek the Democratic nomination for governor, the 2025 mayoral race in the state’s second-largest city will likely be crowded and expensive.

An early short list of mayoral candidates incudes City Council President Joyce Watterman, Downtown Ward E Councilman James Solomon, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Raj Mukherji, and Robert J. Menendez, who will take his seat as the new congressman from Hudson County at noon today.

Two Hudson County Commissioners, Bill O’Dea and Jerry Walker could also run for mayor; both are also reportedly interested in the State Senate seat currently held by Sandra Cunningham, who is unlikely to see a sixth term this year as she copes with cognitive health issues.  Watterman is also a potential Senate candidate.

Other possible candidates include: former Gov. James E. McGreevey, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, former Jersey City Corporation Counsel and 2017 mayoral candidate Bill Matsikoudis, and City Councilmen Daniel Rivera, Yousef Saleh and Frank Gilmore.   There has been speculation from time to time that former Mayor Bret Schundler, 63 and out of the public eye since his brief stint as state Commissioner of Education in 2010, might seek to reboot his political career.

Jersey City activist Amy Wilson said on Twitter that former school board president Mussab Ali and other members of the cty council could wind up in the mayoral race.

Mukherji appears to be a shoo-in for a State Senate seat this year in a newly-drawn 32nd district with no incumbent, but with a four-year term ahead of him, he could decide to mount a mayoral bid without sacrificing his seat.

The 63-year-old O’Dea, one of Fulop’s closest political allies, was first elected to the city council in 1985, at age 26, and re-elected in 1989.  He lost his Ward B seat in 1993 but mounted a comeback in 1997 following the death of Freeholder Hank Gallo, winning a special election convention by one -vote against the late freeholder’s brother.

Walker, a former Seton Hall basketball star, is serving his second term as a county commissioner.

This will be the first opens seat race prompted by a retirement since 2001, when Schundler traded the Jersey City mayoralty for an unsuccessful bid as the Republican nominee for governor.

The next race will also be the first ever run without an incumbent on the ballot in November.  Jersey City moved their non-partisan municipal elections from May to November in 2017.

Fulop was elected in 2013, ousting incumbent Jerramiah Healy by a 53%-48% margin.

This story was updated at 9:53 AM.  

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