WEST NEW YORK – Days after he leveled a diatribe against his longtime political rival, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, former Hudson County Freeholder Jose Munoz rolled into Roque mayoral race foe Commissioner Count Wiley’s headquarters, looking to help take Roque out.
“I’m supporting Count Wiley because I see all the dirty campaigning that Felix Roque and Pablo Fonseca are doing,” said Munoz, who flashed a sly grin at the Roque combined sound-and-TV truck that kept circling the block in front of Wiley’s Hudson Avenue campaign office. “I’ve never seen that kind of campaign in this town, and that got me involved. Roque and Fonseca are desperate. They see themselves losing this community.”
The bad blood between Roque and Munoz is exceptionally thick. Munoz testified against Roque and his son at a 2013 federal trial after charges were filed against the Roques in 2012 for allegedly hacking a website set up by then-Freeholder Munoz that aimed to recall Roque. Roque was acquitted of the charges in October 2013; his son, Joseph, was convicted of a misdemeanor.
Munoz chose not to run in this year’s West New York municipal elections, citing family concerns. But as a growing crowd of campaign volunteers assembled outside of Wiley’s headquarters on Monday, hurling insults in English and Spanish against the circling Roque sound truck, Munoz chose to elaborate on why he decided to jump in deep at the last minute.
“Pablo comes from Newark. He brings Newark politics into West New York, which never had that kind of negative politicking before,” said Munoz, referring to Fonseca’s past experience working on Cory Booker’s mayoral campaigns before Booker became a Democratic U.S. Senator, among other Newark-based battles. “I don’t want to see that in my town.”
Munoz said that the people of West New York will definitely see him around on Election Day.
“People know me, I’m going to be campaigning very hard to make sure that my candidate wins,” Munoz said. “I love politics, and I’m a street politician. That’s how I began, on the street, and now I’m coming back to the streets.”