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West New York Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez. New Jersey Globe Photo.

West New York mayoral race underway

Cirillo, Rodriguez are possible Roque challengers

By David Wildstein, September 15 2018 11:59 pm

The race for Mayor of West New York began in earnest last March, when incumbent Felix Roque backed a coalition to dump Tom DeGise as the Hudson County Executive and his rival, Rep. Albio Sires, began to assemble a full slate of county committee candidates to wrestle away control of the local Democratic organization.

Roque is moving toward a bid for a third term, and Sires, buoyed by a huge win in the Hudson Democratic warette, is looking to replace him in the job he held from 1995 to 2007 with one of his own political allies.

West New York elects five Commissioners in a May non-partisan municipal election, with one of the Commissioners becoming mayor.  There is no runoff, and the winners take office the week after the election.

Roque has won tough races in the past, ousting incumbent Sal Vega in 2010 and defeating Commissioner Count Wiley in 2014.

Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo and Gabe Rodriquez, both elected on Roque’s slate, have now split with the mayor and are now firmly allied with Sires.  The two are expected to anchor an opposition slate in May, along with Commissioner Margarita Guzman.

It’s still a mystery who would be mayor, if they oust Roque.

Neither of them will say.

“Our focus is on November, we’ve got to get Bob Menendez back in office and there’s a big school board race,” Cirillo said.  “Gabe, Margarita and I are on the same team.  I don’t perceive anything changing.”

Cirillo said that any of the three commissioners – the ones Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner referred to as “the good ones” in his remarks today – could be mayor.

“When you talk to constituents, they want change” said Cirillo.

Rodriguez thinks his team will coalesce behind a main Roque at some point.

“It’s a united front in West New York,” Rodriguez told the New Jersey Globe.

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