A snapshot analysis of the Hoboken mayoral campaign
It's late Friday with folks looking to close out the week's business but for Hoboken campaigns, it's winding up to just short of a dull roar. Perhaps a loud roar would be more apropos.
While the Mayor Zimmer campaign looks to put the final preparations on its Monday night fundraising event at the Madison uptown with NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning, her opposition is in a state of flux, completely at odds with each other and their status to engage the popular mayor in the campaign.
Most observers seem to agree the shocking announcement Timmy Occhipinti made yesterday afternoon he was voluntarily leaving his full time job as a help desk support analyst with Alliance Bernstein with only 40 days left to Election Day didn't pass the smell test. Campaign people in other camps didn't buy the proffered reason for a second and the public weighed in not soon after - universally finding the announcement less than palatable on its face, dumb or worse.
The Ramos campaign looking for a morale booster couldn't receive a better gift as this was not the sure footed action of a well oiled opponent. They certainly know that one opposing mayoral candidate "quitting" his job with no campaign office, no staff in place and no machinery running demonstrates their "sideshow" opponent is literally in chaos. The question is can they rise above the din as being one of two worth hearing among the "loyal opposition?" This may be their best chance to create some separation and move to engage their primary foe in Mayor Zimmer and her council at-large slate.
Occhipinti in a phone call early Friday was none too eager to discuss or comment on yesterday's statement. He was well aware of the public backlash here and elsewhere. As he was in a Q&A after his 2010 debate at the Jubilee Center, Occhipinti choose not to answer a simple open ended question. His handlers have always been correct he's not adept on his feet or able to answer questions from anyone knowledgeable on the issues in the public. Their protection helped him get to this point but they couldn't protect him from his employers at Alliance Bernstein.
Commenters have made insightful, pointed analysis on what transpired seeing Occhipinti's sudden, untimely exit from his job. There's most definitely fire there and the chatter is clearly derailing a stunted campaign. Grafix Avenger notes the campaign failed to open its campaign office this week and says there's not just one but two moles planted within the Occhipinti campaign, courtesy of the Russo's. (Councilman Michael Russo is backing Ruben Ramos.)
Some may wonder if this is at all possible and question the veracity of such an outlandish claim but the bad blood is beyond any normal Hoboken election animus. Al Sullivan's column all but predicted the blood letting won't end with this election cycle and the question certainly should be raised - did Alliance Bernstein get clued in on the full hijinks of one Timmy Occhipinti?
One commenter pointed to this appeal to the mob at a HHA meeting held earlier this year. In it, Occhipinti ignored the content of a HUD letter where the agency slammed Carmelo Garcia and HHA counsel Charles Daglian for their legally flawed attempt at getting his contract renewed. His protest was that a public letter had found its way... to the public - on MSV here and has been read over 7,200 times. (Thank you very much Mr. Carmelo!)
Worse, Occhipinti falsely claimed the Corporation Counsel who issued a letter concurring with HUD's findings had no authority to do so. He then went off topic trying to push Vision 20/20 and when admonished to stay on topic, yelled at HHA Chair Jake Stuiver who asked to have Occhipinti thrown out.
It's unclear what transpired at Alliance Bernstein leading to Tim Occhipinti's sudden employment demise but based on the bad blood one has to wonder if the firm was alerted to the true behavior of their employee. If they did come to see what they had on their hands, they would see the issue of a true problem, one that needed rectifying immediately.
As one commenter said, any news story on massive election fraud would be directly linked to the firm. Witnessing Occhipinti pushing a suspect redevelopment plan as he did here in the manner he demonstrated wouldn't give them the warm and fuzzies.
Talking Ed Note: With that, the week ends with the Zimmer campaign holding steady in the lead, the Ruben Ramos campaign getting a much needed morale boost and the Raia slate with Tim Occhipinti just about spiraling in flames with possibly two Russo clan moles planted in its mist. Hat tip: Michael Russo.
This is going to be one wild ride Hoboken.
Related: The original story when Timmy had the police called to take him away.