HOBOKEN – It's been a torturous and rewarding path in Hudson County politics for Councilwoman Carol Marsh, who ginned up the city's reform movement base in her unsuccessful 2005 run for mayor against Dave Roberts, and won a seat on the council four years later on the Zimmer Team.
"I never felt this would be easy, and there's a lot of work to do to resolve a lot of competing interests," said Marsh as her friend and ally Dawn Zimmer became Hoboken's first woman mayor.
Sandwiched improbablybetweenher two historic runs – one a heartbreaking loss in which she was outspent 7-1 and the other a victory culminating with Zimmer's swearing-in this afternoon -was Marsh's 2007bid for the Assembly in the 33rd District as a candidate on the ticket backed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO).
A lot of Marsh's allies worried thatherplaceon that doomedticket – running withWest New York Mayor Sal Vega and Nicole Garcia – against the Union City machine of Mayor Brian P. Stack was the HCDO's way of throwing Marsh under the bus.
When she resurfaced earlier this year on the local ticket with Zimmer, there were those who heralded the retun of Marsh the 2005 reformer.
And there were those who quietly fumed that she was once again the HCDO's horse in the race – just in case Peter Cammarano didn't make it across the finish line.
Tempted early to back 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason in the mayoral contest, Stack the powerful Hudson County renegade,begged off after recognizing that he has a base in Hoboken with Assemblyman Ruben Ramos (D-Hoboken).
Thoughhe worried about the HCDO's hand in both the Cammarano and Zimmer camps, he tended to have better working relations with Zimmer than Cammarano, in part becausehe figured the organization – and its attendant allies in the statewide Democratic Party – played a much stronger hand trying to build relations with Cammarano.
Overall, the Zimmer camp was fresher and potentially more pliable and, despite the rumors, more independent.
Stack and Zimmer had scheduled a diner meetinglast Thursday night to talk about 33rd District politics. It turned out to be the same night of the federal bust that took down Cammarano.
They met anyway.
But even as the Zimmer Team seeks to find its place in the larger county organization and is apparently building relations with Stack and building on its HCDO connections, their greater challenge may be trying to bridge the divide in Hoboken proper.
"I believe what we built to win was a real coalition," said Marsh. "But it's true, reaching out to the whole city is something we need to do. I think it's a long ways away still."
In the meantime, Marsh the veteran now of tough campaigns in the always changing tides of Hudson, could claim Zimmer's victory today as her own.
"I wouldn't run if Dawn runs, that would be ridiculous," she had told PolitickerNJ.com a year ago in the lead up to the mayoral race.
Days after notifying the local media that she intended to call for Cammarano's resignation in a formal resolution at next Wednesday's council meeting in the event he stayed in office, this afternoonMarsh rejoiced in having a good friend in the chief executive's chair.
"I didn't have open communications with the mayor's office," she said of the last month while Cammarano served as mayor.
Almost simultaneously, Zimmer asked Marsh to join her upstairs as her first official meetings as mayor commenced.