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Monday, January 7, 2013

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos takes out petitions for mayor

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos once believed to be seriously contemplating a major run for Hoboken mayor back in April last year, forged ahead in the face of a strong Mayor Zimmer headwind since and took out petitions last week.

The election climate has changed since from bad to worse for the Old Guard and Ramos holds one strong trump card with ties to the Spanish speaking populations, especially in the Applied Buildings and the fourth ward housing authority - if he can meet their "campaign work" price for voting expectations.

The Applied vote in the second ward directed salvaged a win for Councilwoman Beth Mason in 2011 where she narrowly avoided a runoff against Tom Greaney by less than 10 votes.  Having lost the base of professional ward residents earlier, Mason put over $50,000 on the street in questionable street money but it got the job done.  Ruben Ramos does not have a similar splash the money around ability making his candidacy less appealing to the paid for voter crowd.

Longtime Hudson County political columnist and Jersey Journal editor Augie Torres called Mayor Zimmer unbeatable saying the "anti-administration types have no chance of unseating" her.  Since Augie is not exactly listening to reform voices in Hoboken, it means the whispers are coming from the Old Guard side of the tracks.  Political reality has sent the miserable and litigious Councilwoman Beth Mason looking to purchase a position outside the Mile Square and there's little doubt Ruben Ramos is unaware of which way the winds are blowing.

So why is Ramos taking out petitions so early?  One source close to the administration sees it as a gambit to obtain a favor with him dropping out in short order.  The only problem is there's little likelihood of any horse trading, pardon the pun.  Mayor Zimmer is no longer seen as a quiet acolyte who will agree to even listen to such propositions.  She's holding a hand of aces with a very strong record: reducing taxes, significantly cutting and controlling spending, saving the hospital in a sale no one thought possible and likely keeping Hoboken solvent.

It's a record no one thought possible when the low key fourth ward councilwoman announced her candidacy for mayor in 2009.  Along the road, the mayor has moved from almost crisis to crisis and in the face of continuous Old Guard opposition, she's come out pulling Hoboken ahead.

None of this is of course escaping notice by Ruben Ramos who has taken his shots at the mayor along the way.  From publicly backing a sordid Tim Occhipinti campaign in the fourth ward special election to thanking everyone in a recent letter but the mayor for their efforts in the face of Hurricane Sandy's devastation, Ramos has been posturing to take the second floor mayor's chair for some time.

If you want to bluff to get something, the other side needs to believe it's in their best interest to do so.  Mayor Dawn Zimmer is not likely to fear a Ramos candidacy or anyone else for that matter.  She's more likely to greet them all with a smile and say, "Bring it on."

Ruben Ramos (c) is pondering a run for Hoboken mayor.  But no one gives him much chance if he's serious.

The opposition has thrown their worst at her and she's standing well above the fray.  One Old Guard leader likely contemplating a run of their own said of the Assemblyman with no small amount of disparagement recently, "What has he ever done for Hoboken?"

For Ramos that's as much a problem as the current occupant of the big chair on the second floor at City Hall.

Update: Based on some additional information, it's completely unclear if petitions were picked up.  With the mayoral election moved to November, it appears beginning the process has to be run through the County Clerk's office.  Which means the source for this rumor may in fact not have it quite right.  That could be a grist first.

Update 2: Petitions are not available for mayor in the City Clerk's office, but the effort on behalf of Ramos did in fact take place.