To an outsider it may seem extraordinary that a well-oiled political machine like the Hudson County Democratic Organization could mess up the petitions of a State Senate candidate in a hotly contested primaries, but there is some historical precedence to shabby petitions from Jersey City Democrats Bobby Jackson and Joe Cardwell that may explain it.
Back in 2002, Jackson and Cardwell convinced Mayor Glenn Cunningham to back Edgar Martinez in the Democratic congressional primary against Robert Menendez — driving Cunningham and Menendez — engaged in a bitter battle over the County Executive’s post — even further apart. The HCDO and Menendez eventually solved the problem: after a dinner meeting in New York with Menendez, Martinez wound up — coincidentally — taking a vacation with his family just before the filing deadline.
Meanwhile, the Menendez camp went to court in an effort to invalidate the signatures on petitions they had obtained. The Judge found that many of the signers were ineligible — he found that there was fraud involved — and Martinez was thrown off the ballot.
Only when Al Spivey handled the petitions for the Cunningham crew did things go well. Jackson and Cardwell are in charge now, and the late Mayor’s widow, Sandra Bolden Cunningham, may now have to mount a legal challenge to get on the Democratic primary ballot.
That might not be so easy if Louis Manzo is successful in his bid to get Angelo Genova to represent him.