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Hudson County Democratic Chair Amy DeGise. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

Hudson Dems pick slate without Torres

By David Wildstein, February 14 2020 10:05 am

Hudson County Democrats are putting twelve of thirteen incumbents on their organization line in the June Democratic primary, but are not endorsing a candidate for president at this point.

As first reported by the New Jersey Globe on February 7, Hudson County Democratic Chair Amy DeGise announced that the party would not support Freeholder Joel Torres for re-election to a second term in the Jersey City-based District 4.

Torres, a former Jersey City Board of Education president, will be replaced by Yraida Aponte-Lipski, the wife of former Jersey City councilman and current ward Democratic leader Steve Lipski.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Reps. Albio Sires (D-West New York), Donald Payne (D-Newark) and Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) will also seek re-election on the Hudson County Democratic line in the June 2 primary.

The line was awarded by DeGise in consultant with key Hudson County powerbrokers.  Hudson does not hold screening committee meetings or open convention.

Booker faces a primary challenge from progressive activist Lawrence Hamm, a former Newark school board member who chairs Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in New Jersey.

The three incumbent congressmen all face primary challenges from the left: Hector Oseguera is taking on Sires; Zina Spezakis and Alp Basaran are opposing Pascrell; and John Flora and Eugene Mazo are running against Payne.

Freeholder Kenneth Kopacz (D-Bayonne), Bill O’Dea (D-Jersey City), Jerry Walker (D-Jersey City), Anthony Romano (D-Hoboken), Fanny Cedeno (D-Union City), Caridad Rodriguez (D-West New York), Anthony Vainieri (D-North Bergen) and Albert Cifelli (D-Kearny) will also run on the line.

“With the Trump administration rejecting our values and attacking many of the communities who make up our Hudson County family, it’s more important now than ever for us to have strong leaders fighting for us right here in our own backyard,” said DeGise. “This year we are elevating more women into leadership roles on our Freeholder Board than there have been in decades, while continuing to embrace the diversity that makes Hudson County so strong and vibrant. I was elected Chairwoman by our county committee members and supported by Democratic leaders to represent the core values of our party, and I’m certain that this ticket lives up to that promise and will help in our mission to represent the people of Hudson County.”

Romano survives despite a short-lived bid by Hoboken mayor Ravi Bhalla to pick his own freeholder candidate.  Bhalla backed down and becomes the only mayor of a large Hudson municipality to not pick their own freeholder candidate.

There had been some talk of Hoboken councilman Michael Russo taking a run, but that seems to have quieted down.

Romano was dropped from the organization line in 2014 when the organization backed Philip Cohen for the seat at the request of then-Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer.

The incumbent ran off the line and won 57% of the vote after taking Hoboken with 61%.

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