Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla begins his bid for a second term with a 69%-30% job approval rating, according to an internal poll conducted by the Bhalla campaign obtained and reviewed by the New Jersey Globe.
Bhalla’s strength is boosted by overwhelming voter approval of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83% rating him excellent or good and just 13% saying only fair or poor.
Favorables for Bhalla are at 80%-16%, considerably higher than two city councilmen who are mulling candidacies for mayor in the November non-partisan elections.
Council President Ruben Ramos, a former assemblyman, has favorables of 31%-10%. Another councilman, Michael DeFusco, has favorables of 32%-15%.
Ramos and DeFusco have run for mayor in the past. Ramos filed to run against Bhalla in December.
In 2017, following the retirement of Dawn Zimmer, Bhalla defeated DeFusco by 484 votes, 33%-30%, in a six-candidate race. Runoff elections in Hoboken mayoral races were eliminated after the 2009 election.
Zimmer defeated Ramos in 2013 by 1,571 votes, 47%-35%. Zimmer had become mayor in 2009 despite losing the runoff to Peter Cammarano by 161 votes. Cammarano was arrested 22 days after taking office and charged with taking a $25,000 cash bribe. He resigned 8 days later.
Their favorables are just slightly higher than two other city council members who have not made mayoral bid: Tiffanie Fisher is at 21%-11% and Michael Russo is at 22%-15%
The poll was conducted by Rob Horowitz & Associates.