Jerramiah Healy has won three campaigns for Mayor of Jersey City in five years without ever being forced into a runoff election – the first Mayor to do that since the legendary Frank Hague won his last election in 1945. The Healy slate also won six of the seven Council seats decided in yesterday’s vote, with the chance to pick up two more when Ward A Councilman Michael Sottolano and Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson run in a June 9 runoff election.
Healy won 53% of the vote in a five-candidate field, besting two well-known challengers: Louis Manzo, a former Assemblyman and Hudson County Freeholder who was making his fifth bid for Mayor; and Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, a former Acting Mayor, State Senator, and City Council President.
But one frequent critic of the Mayor remains in office: Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop won a massive 63% of the vote against four opponents, including Guy “Squab” Catrillo, who ran on Healy’ slate. The Healy campaign, sensing Fulop’s strength, essentially pulled out of the Ward E race a few weeks ago.
Healy, the Hudson County Democratic Chairman, is one of the most powerful elected officials in the state. But in Jersey City, where a Mayor is only as good as their previous week, chances are that Healy will begin planning his 2013 re-election soon, possibly as early as last night. He needs to keep an eye on Fulop and on State Sen. Sandra Bolden Cunningham, a onetime Healy rival who endorsed the Mayor for re-election this year.