In LD38, Fernando Alonso’s assembly candidacy is currently on the bubble as the Republican Party waits for a hearing with the Passaic County Superior Court to see if they can replace former candidate Anthony Cappola’s name with his.
Last week, Cappola dropped out after an old book he wrote surfaced. That left the Bergen GOP scrambling to find a candidate. Tomorrow, the group will meet to confirm Alonso’s candidacy. Alonso ran for LD38’s assembly seat in 2011 and the district’s senate seat in 2013 but was defeated both times.
PolitickerNJ spoke with Alonso about his candidacy in LD38, the overall situation there and what’s next after November 3.
How does it feel to be on the bubble like this, waiting to get the OK?
It is what it is. They asked me if I could do this. This was not on my agenda. I saw the party in a tough situation and I figured I would help. I don’t know if it is going to happen in the end. That is up in the air.
You lost in 2011 and 2013, what made you decide to step up and run again?
We are in a tough situation. They asked me and I had to think about it but I decided to do what I could do to help the party. All I did was say ‘OK I will help you’ but whatever happens is whatever happens.
This is in the hands of the courts right now. I think that if the courts do the right thing they will probably allow us to replace the candidate but when that will happen, who knows?
It is not an easy situation for anybody. I see that.
With that being said, do you think you are the right person for the job?
I thought I was the right person in 2011 when I ran for the assembly and I thought I was the right person when I ran for the senate in 2013. The fact is that you give other people opportunities to run. Sometimes, in the game of politics someone else might do a better job.
In terms of being the person who can do it, I think I can.
Do you think you will be able to win in LD38 given the short campaign time frame?
That is up to the public. There are a lot of people who are upset with the same stuff the Democrats always do. If they get out there and vote we have a chance to win.
In terms of me being able to do what I did to campaign in 2013, clearly I don’t have enough time. But there is an anti-democratic vote out there. Everyone is saying that this is going to be a very low turnout so whoever has the apparatus to get the vote out will obviously win.
Why did you initially decide not to pursue a candidacy in LD38? Where has your focus been instead?
I have been, the last couple of years, helping other candidates. I had been trying to help Hispanic candidates win elections in the county like Carlos Rendo in Woodcliff Lake and Daisy Ortiz-Berger countywide. I am trying to push the idea of having more Hispanics involved in the Republican Party first of all and, more importantly, in the political process. It is not that I would never run again, it is just that I was doing that. I wasn’t thinking of running this year, it just happened.
What is your ultimate goal?
All I want to do at the moment is help the Hispanic community get to the political table. That is my main goal. I’m not sure what that entails in terms of being an elected official.
I am working with the Hispanic Republican Association. We are thinking of doing some kind of a PAC eventually.
There are a lot of things I want to do statewide to help out our community but I don’t have any specific thing yet. We have a congressman where I am, we have a chairman, so I am not thinking about anything else.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I hope we win.