Bret Schundler has been tightlipped with the press about whether he’s made a decision to run for mayor of Jersey City, but some Hudson County Republicans are under the impression that the former mayor has just about made up his mind to run again for the big office on Grove Street.
Schundler, who was mayor between 1992 and 2001 before running two unsuccessful gubernatorial bids, attended the party’s reorganization meeting earlier this month in his role as a committeeman and, according to one person present, unofficially announced his intention to run.
“He basically said that he was interested in running, and that he will announce it at a later date,” said Hudson County Republican Chairman Jose Arango. “He said that maybe in the future he’ll announce that he’ll run for mayor. I know he’s meeting with people.”
Schundler’s language was far from definite, but Arango said that he gave the impression that it was all but official.
“I’m pretty sure that he’s trying to do it, and I think the bottom line is whether he can raise the money,” he said.
For what it’s worth, Schundler won’t be guaranteed to have the Republicans’ lock-step support in the city’s non-partisan election. Under Arango’s watch, the Hudson County Republicans donated $1,500 to Mayor Jerramiah Healy, a Democrat, in 2006. Arango is the director of Jersey City’s Division of Economic Development, and his wife is the director of the Division of Cultural Affairs.
Arango defends the contribution.
“Healy ran as a non-partisan and he got support from Republicans and Democrats. It’s a standard deal here in Jersey City,” said Arango. “Schundler was the Republican mayor but the entire council was Democratic, and he got a lot of donations from Democrats.”
A question in a recent Schundler poll about whether respondents would be more likely to vote for him if he dropped his Republican affiliation to become an independent also concerned some local Republicans.
“That’s one of the concerns the Republicans have. You can’t call and say you don’t want to be a Republican,” said Arango.
Schundler could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the Jersey Journal’s Auggie Torres reports that Schundler met with Joe Cardwell, the top advisor to state Senator and prospective mayoral candidate Sandra B. Cunningham, to ask for her support.