In Bayonne, La Pelusa mulls council-mayor options

A former aide on the state payroll of Assemblyman Tony Chiappone (D-Bayonne) who’s taken out petitions to run for mayor and council, Bayonne Councilman Gary La Pelusa said he still doesn’t yet know which office he will pursue, inevitably drawing jeers charging indecision from his adversaries.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” La Pelusa told “I have gotten pettions for both, and I will sit down with my family next week to decide.

“I’m intending to run,” he added.

He just doesn’t know which office will draw his final focus.

His onetime ally turned nemesis Chiappone yesterday announced his decision to challenge Mayor Mark Smith, what some Bayonne observers call a kamikazee play by the lawmaker who’s already fighting charges that he deposited state paychecks to aides – including former aide LaPelusa – into his and his wife’s personal bank account and campaign fund.

“I don’t know what anybody else’s intentions are,” La Pelusa said. “I don’t really know. I can’t run my life by what somebody else says or does. Whatever these guys want to do has no impact on what I’m going to do.”

Chiappone said he doesn’t think La Pelusa will ultimately run for mayor, calling the move to take out petitions for the office “a bluff” by the man who cooperated with investigators seeking intel on the assemblyman. 

“Number one, I wouldn’t want his endorsement, he’s someone who misrepresented me,” said Chiappone, in response to a question from

In Bayonne, La Pelusa mulls council-mayor options