Jersey City Heights businessman Michael Yun, a long time friend political ally of Bret Schundler, said that the former mayor and gubernatorial candidate will seek to reclaim the city's top office in 2009.
“He’s definitely going to run, yes, and we’re organizing,” Yun told PolitickerNJ in a phone interview this morning.
Schundler has spent the last couple weeks attending neighborhood meetings and asking local politicians for support, aided by Yun. He recently announced his mayoral intentions to a gathering of Hudson County Republicans at their reorganization meeting, though in less definite language.
Although some politicians who have been approached by Schundler allies have rebuffed his request for support, Yun said that Schundler is popular with the public.
“The response from the seniors and low income residents in Jersey City, they say ‘Thank god Schundler’s coming back,” said Yun. “How the other politicians and leaders think of him is not a big issue at this point – he’s more consiereing how the people think and what kind of support he’s going to get from the public.
Yun said that Schundler is working on putting together a slate, but did not elaborate on who will join. Schundler’s supporters have recently made noise about an alliance with Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop.
Fulop could not immediately be reached for comment, but some of the local activists he’s close with have also been contacted about joining a Schundler slate and have refused.
Shelly Skinner, an education activist who plans to run for Fulop’s council seat regardless of whether he runs for mayor, said that Yun contacted to seek her support for Schundler.
“Bret doesn’t have my support. It’s certainly nothing personal, but I made it pretty clear to them that wasn’t a direction I was comfortable in going,” she said.
Skinner said that she wasn’t comfortable with Schundler’s conservative ideology, but more importantly, he’s been away from the political scene for too long.
“The Republican part is a piece of it, but the other thing is where has he been?”
Jimmy King, a former parking authority head and council candidate who runs a his own civic association, was also contacted by Schundler. He made no commitment one way or the other.
“I’m open to support anybody. I’m waiting to see who actually is running and who’s going to do the most to cure some of our problems in Jersey City,” he said. “Our crime, our streets are dirty, taxes. I’m waiting to see who’s on the right issues.”
Schundler, who has yet to make his bid official, could not be reached for comment.
The mayoral election is a non-partisan contest in this Democratic machine town. Also mulling bids against incumbent Mayor Jerramiah Healy are Steve Fulop, State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, former Assemblyman Lou Manzo and Assemblyman/former Acting Mayor L. Harvey Smith.