Dems still trying to agree on Epps’ replacement

The Hudson County Democratic Organization will almost certainly dump Assemblyman Charles Epps from their ticket, but party leaders have not yet agreed on who will replace him. Democrats close to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy (who is expected to become Hudson County Democratic Chairman in June) are pushing Freeholder Jeffrey Dublin for the post, but other Democrats — especially Assemblyman Louis Manzo — want former Jersey City Council President L. Harvey Smith, who served briefly in the State Senate (following the resignation of Joseph Charles) and as Mayor of Jersey City (following the death of Glenn Cunningham). Smith has been angling to run against Healy for Mayor in two years. Healy could use the Assembly seat as a way of ending Smith’s City Hall aspirations, or it could backfire by making Smith a more formidable opponent. Smith had the HCDO backing when he lost a 2003 Senate primary to Cunningham, and fared poorly in his bid for Mayor in a 2004 Special Election. In the 31st district, the HCDO support is no longer tantamount to a primary victory. Sandra Cunningham, the widow of the late Mayor and State Senator, has been mulling a challenge to incumbent Joseph Doria. Possible Assembly candidates on her ticket include Jersey City Councilwoman Viola Richardson, who has a strong base in Ward F and had beaten the organization before, and former Bayonne Municipal Court Judge Patrick Conaghan, who forced Doria into a runoff last year.

Dems still trying to agree on Epps’ replacement