PASSAIC – With backing from Gov. Jon Corzine and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Hoboken), the re-election campaign of Mayor Alex Blanco showed every early sign of moonwalking to victory today.
That was until operative Kevin Collins, who recently left the gubernatorial campaign of Steve Lonegan, surfaced as an opposition researcher for Blanco nemesis Vincent Capuana, and a week and a half ago muddied the incumbent mayor with mailers describing his financial woes, which at the very least seized the attention of Team Blanco.
The favorite immediately retaliated, issuing counterpunch lit. detailing Capuana’s salary climb to over $100,000 during the years of disgraced and jailed former Mayor Sammy Rivera, and highlighting Capuana’s receipt of a loan from the same mortgage company owned by a developer with whom Capuana had school board dealings.
Suddenly, the rematch between Blanco and Capuana six plus months since last year’s special election, felt like a contest.
The ultimate test today will be whether the alliance forged by Blanco and Assemblyman/Council President Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) and augmented by their appeal to the town’s overwhelming number of Latino voters, can withstand Capuana’s efforts to translate Councilman Joe Garcia’s and developer Jose Sandoval’s blocs of Latino voters into his base.
Capuana lost last year by just 203 votes.