If you are going to face the big kids in the neighborhood, it is worth having friends by your side.
This appears to be the strategy of a group of candidates from Jersey City challenging the slate of candidates led by Mayor Steven Fulop.
A first indication of this informal alliance came on July 27 when Council general candidate Chris Gadsden introduced some of his allies who hope to secure more progressive and independent voices in elected positions.
“It would be a little silly of us not to work together and try to leverage each other so that we can be as successful as possible,” said Gadsden, a former Ward B city councilor. And we have to show Jersey City that you have options.
“Everyone’s mailboxes are going to be filled with Team Fulop… but the general public needs to know that there are great people out there who can do the job,” he added.
The independent coalition has been canvassing together, including each other in social media posts, and promoting the need for independent voices in city council. Among them is Ward F candidate Frank Gilmore. He said the candidates had many similar elements to their platforms and championed many of the same causes.
Other members of the coalition include Pedro Figuroa, Joel Brooks, Elvin Dominici, Kevin Bing, Danielle Freire and June Jones. They are joined by mayoral candidate Lewis Spears and Ward E Councilor James Solomon. Some of them have been working together since before the 2021 election.
Gilmore said that for the most part, the candidates were okay with what they wanted changed.
“When you see the individual candidate coming forward, you can see a body of work that speaks to what they’re talking about,” Gilmore said. “When you work with people in the past you see the passion they have or if you haven’t worked with them you observe what they have done in their pocket from their community, so they are people that you can easily support. “
Solomon said that positive change happens when you have people asking tough questions and championing established powerful interests in the city instead of people taking orders from political leaders. He said he was happy to provide advice and guidance to any candidate who comes forward on their own merits “and not with the money and support of a political machine that does not put the community first.” .
Fulop is running for re-election on a city council ticket that includes incumbents Joyce Watterman, Daniel Rivera, Mira Prinz-Arey, Denise Ridley, Jermaine Robinson, Yusef Saleh and Richard Boggiano. Hudson County Democratic Organization president Amy DeGise has joined the list, running for a general seat, while City Attorney Jake Hudnut challenges Solomon for Ward E.
Fulop has a war chest of nearly $ 1.8 million, with approximately $ 984,000 in his personal account and $ 800,000 with his Joint Committee of Nominees.
Bing, Brooks, Freire and Solomon raised just over $ 200,000 in total. Spears, Figuroa, Domincini, Gilmore, Jones and Gadsden have yet to file their contribution reports with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Fulop team spokesman Phil Swibinski threatened to press charges against candidates who failed to file their reports.
“It is ironic that many of these candidates who claim to be ‘independent’ do not disclose who is funding their campaigns or what they spend money on, choosing instead to blatantly ignore campaign finance disclosure laws. failing to file quarterly reports with the League, ”Swibinski said.
He added: “Residents of Jersey City deserve transparency and if these candidates continue to violate state election law, our campaign will file formal complaints with ELEC to ensure they cannot s ‘get out of it by keeping residents in the dark about who is funding their campaigns. “
Gadsden said he would file his reports this week because he hadn’t raised a lot of money until his fundraiser last week. He said he had a total of about $ 11,000.
“Before the July deposit deadline, I only raised around $ 1,000, so after my fundraiser, which was on July 27, I raised money,” Gadsden said. . “We’re going to be filing shortly, and then people will see who donated to a campaign that didn’t take anything from the developers… or whoever funded us didn’t get a deal with the city.”