Sources say that Kristen Zadroga Hart, a top Jersey City teachers union official before challenging Assembly incumbents in the Democratic primary last year, is emerging as a possible candidate for Hudson County Democratic Chair.
Hart, sources say, would have the backing of the Hudson Democratic forces who oppose Union City Mayor/State Sen. Brian Stack for county chairman, including County Executive Tom DeGise and North Bergen Mayor/State Sen. Nicholas Sacco.
One source says that the announcement of Hart as a candidate is being held off until after Tuesday’s mayoral election in Bayonne.
In her campaign last year, Hart had the support of political operative Tom Bertoli, who managed Steve Fulop’s campaign to unseat Jersey City mayor Jerramiah Healy in 2013. Bertoli stopped working for Fulop after he dropped out of the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the fall of 2016.
Bertoli is the one who helped Fulop recruit candidates to take control of the local Democratic organization and might have a better relationship with the county committee than the mayor.
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) backed Hart in her primary bid in the 31st district in 2017, along with incumbent Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne). The state’s largest teachers’ union passed over Chiaravalloti’s running mate, Angela McKnight (D-Jersey City).
Hart received a $16,599 contribution from the Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) and $8,200 from the NJEA. She also raised $13,620 from Jersey City Board of Education employees and contributed $10,000 of her own money.
The incumbents won the primary by a wide margin: McKnight received 9,621 votes, followed by Chiaravalloti with 9,073 votes. Hart came in third with 4,081 votes, followed by Bayonne Board of Education trustee Christopher Munoz, who won 3,000 votes.