After a letter filed on behalf of a concerned citizen was made public this week regarding the legality of Freeholder Anthony Romano running for both Freeholder and Mayor in this November’s election, Councilman and mayoral candidate Michael DeFusco is responding to the legal and ethical concerns raised by the situation. The DeFusco campaign obtained a copy of the letter by filing an Open Public Records Act request with the Hudson County Clerk’s Office, and a copy is attached.
Currently, Freeholder Romano is set to appear on the ballot for Freeholder by virtue of winning the primary election. He has also announced that he intends to run for Mayor at the same time. This action may be a violation of state election law, and is certainly a disservice to Hoboken residents who deserve elected leaders who put the community first, as well as appropriate representation at all levels of government.
“Compelling legal questions aside, what Freeholder Romano is apparently planning on doing is exactly why so many people are disillusioned with politics -- because he’s putting his own interests ahead of our community’s,” said DeFusco. “I’m running for Mayor because I believe that Hoboken needs new energy, new ideas and a new leader who will be focused only on giving back to our city and helping it reach its potential, not on taking from it.”
The letter outlines specific sections of state law that Romano’s dual candidacy would violate, most notably NJ Revised Statute 19:3-5.1 which states that no candidate may appear twice on a ballot for offices that which the state constitution would prohibit “the simultaneous holding” thereof. In addition, the letter lays out the possibility that the Freeholder seat could remain vacant for up to a year if Romano wins both elections.
“The possibility that Hoboken’s representative on the Freeholder Board could remain vacant for up to a year until a special election, or that our seat could be appointed by politicians, not elected by the voters, is a chance that we simply can not take,” said DeFusco. “Hoboken needs more representation, not less, and with so many pressing issues affecting our community at both the local and county level, it is shocking that Freeholder Romano would ask Hoboken residents to accept that outcome.”