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Jersey City Elects a New Mayor

5-15-13

As election day drew to a close, polling places in incumbent Mayor Jerramiah Healy’s home districts began to fill up, ordinarily a good sign, but it turns out that many of these people were voting for the other guy, and it proved to be the dagger in the heart of the Healy campaign. When you lose 17 of the 19 districts in your home ward, this is what happens:

“Everybody our next mayor of Jersey City, Steve Fulop!” yelled a supporter at the Fulop campaign.

“We are gonna work relentlessly to make sure that those of you who put your faith in us today, that we make you proud every single day going forward as part of a Jersey City community,” Jersey City Mayor-elect Steve Fulop

Mayor-elect Steve Fulop got just over 52 percent of the vote, a resounding victory in a race that – until it was finally decided – was seen as too close to call. The first evidence of the rout began to show when Fulop’s downtown Ward E, city council running mate Candice Osborne – a political newbie – rolled to victory with almost 70 percent of the vote.

“Can you please raise your hand if tonight was the first day you voted in a Jersey City municipal election? Everyone else clap for these people. They are changing Jersey City,” Osborne yelled out to the crowd.

Indeed, change is in the air in the state’s second largest city. Fulop, who represented the city’s Downtown, was seen as the candidate of the city’s newer residents, but judging from the faces in the crowd and on the stage, a lot of long-time residents had had enough of Mayor Healy, too. And even an endorsement from President Obama wasn’t enough to help the mayor, who ended his night, literally, singing the blues.

Fulop has raised expectations in this city, where high taxes are a big issue downtown and a lack of economic development and crime are an issue in the inner city. At 36 years of age and virtually new to the city compared to his opponent, Fulop has already begun to draw comparisons to another big city mayor – Cory Booker, who, ironically, endorsed Healy. He may lack Booker’s Ivy-league pedigree and flair for drama, but Fulop began to present his own narrative yesterday.

Fulop told his supporters, “When I think about my experiences in life, whether it’s growing up in an immigrant household or my time in the military, you get an opportunity to meet a lot of people, with a lot of different backgrounds, and a lot of different stories, and the common thread through all of them is that they believe in this great country and they believe in the opportunity here.”