19 Candidates - Including 2 Brothers - Vie in Jersey City Mayor’s Race
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Politics has pitted brother against brother in this aging blue-collar town where 19 candidates are campaigning for mayor in Tuesday’s special election.
Among the names on the ballot are those of Louis Manzo and his older brother Allen. Their mother has endorsed Louis.
″I love my brother. I respect my brother,″ said Allen Manzo, a former chairman of the city’s Democratic Party. ″We just disagree politically.″
Louis Manzo responds: ″I love all my family. Obviously, we have strong political differences. ″Hey, I got my mother and grandmother to support me.″
Whichever of the 19 wins will be the fourth mayor this year for the town of 228,000 that sits across the Hudson River from New York City.
A judge ordered the first mayor, Gerald McCann, out of office in February after he was convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion. City Council President Marilyn Roman automatically became mayor when the council couldn’t decide on a replacement.
Then in July, Councilman Joseph Rakowski was voted council president, making him mayor until this special election.
He’ll be succeeded by Tuesday’s winner, who will only have a lock on the $60,000-a-year job until May when voters return to the polls for the next regular mayoral election.
Candidates and residents generally agree on campaign issues: that the city is going downhill, taxes and crime are too high, and the schools are in trouble.
Thomas Mansheim, chairman of the urban studies department at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, said the political leadership that once picked candidates has splintered into several factions, which has resulted in such a large field of candidates.
Various candidates struggle for more political influence, based on how many votes they can pull, he said.
″If you get a certain number of votes, then you’re in a position to bargain,″ Mansheim said. ″There’s a certain culture of politics here, not altogether a positive one. It’s perceived a way to improve yourself.