Smith won’t rule out HCDO chairmanship, but says it’s not on his radar screen

Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith won’t rule out serving as the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) chairman, but he said he’s not thinking about it right now.  

“I’ve been focused on getting things squared away in my own house; like everybody, I have budget issues,” said Smith, who in 2008 won a special election to fill a seat vacated by Joe Doria.

Smith also faces a May election in which he hopes to win a full four-year term. Councilman Gary LaPelusa has taken out petitions to oppose the mayor. 

“I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of the things we talked about during the campaign, including streamlining government – collapsing nine departments into four, making our government the smallest its been since 1994,” said Smith, whose town faces a budget deficit of $30 million, or five million less than what it was when Smith first came into office, he said.

Hudson County sources regularly circulate Smith as a potential successor to HCDO Chairman Jerramiah Healy, the mayor of Jersey City, whose current term as party chairman ends in June.

But “it’s not even on my radar,” Smith said. “I have more than enough work to do now. While it’s very flattering on its face, I have a great relationship with Jerry Healy – and he’s the chairman.”

Smith won’t rule out HCDO chairmanship, but says it’s not on his radar screen