A poll reportedly in the field in Hoboken today has Councilwoman Beth Mason’s fingerprints all over it, according to one critic who received the poll call.
Tony Soares, a backer of Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Mason opponent, recounted the poll questions that were posed to him this morning with precision, including caller ID proof.
The poll included several queries about Mason’s chances at a higher office, Soares said.
Mason doesn’t face an election this year; her term expires next year and at least one establishment contender is waiting to challenge her for the 2nd Ward seat.
Since Soares is the only poll responder on record, the allegation is sketchy, but not unlikely. Others, including one Mason supporter says it is merely an attack meant only roil the waters.
But this year, Zimmer and Co. have no pressing reason to attack Mason, especially with Councilman and Zimmer ally Michael Lenz’s special election in November.
Money also is no barrier for the largely self-funded Mason, who spent nearly $1 million to challenge Zimmer in two Hoboken mayoral elections last year
A manufactured attack, said Hudson political consultant Tom Bertolli. He heard about the sampling too, but, “I think it s a phony poll.”
“I think its six idiots sitting in a room trying are to antagonize people,” according to Bertolli, who represents, at times, Mason and Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop.
“That’s why they called Tony Soares, because he’s got the biggest mouth in town,” he said. “But it’s Hoboken, you never know (who it is). Somebody’s always stirring the pot.”
Mason said she doesn’t have a poll in the field after first dodging the question based on lack of information.
But, she added, “I don’t really know sometimes when things go on,” considering she has several different consulting agencies in the mix.
The poll, Soares said, pitted Mason against other notables for Hudson County Executive and Freeholder. Both seats open up next year, with incumbents Tom DeGise and Anthony Romano, respectively, prepared for reelection campaigns.
Mason denied having any interest in the county executive post. “If I’m going to run for anything I’m going to run for my seat on City Council,” Mason said.
The poll also tested Zimmer against Union City Mayor Brian Stack for his state senate seat, which is also up next year. “That’s just to start up trouble,” Soares posited.
Bertolli said, “I just doesn’t sound like something she would spend her money doing. There’s no election in the second ward.”
It was questions about Lenz and his race – in particular several negatively posed questions on Lenz – that convinced Soares the poll was from an anti-Zimmer/Lenz contingent. It was the profusion of Mason’s name in the horse races that convinced him it was her poll.
“Two out of three questions were about Beth Mason,” he said. “Beth is just very jealous of Dawn and (Council President) Carol (Marsh),” who he said are prominent females carrying the banner of reform in the Mile Square City – something Mason yearns for, he said.
Both close allies of Zimmer and Lenz, and both at-large representatives on the City Council, Marsh and Ravi Bhalla also figured heavily in the poll. Since they both live in the 2nd Ward, Soares thinks Mason is concerned about either entering the race next year.
UPDATE: This local pro-Zimmer blog recounts the same poll, and several other locals have confirmed its existence.