Mayor Spears hope, others miss deadline for filing state campaign reports

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With less than a month to go before the Nov. 2 election, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has a massive war chest to get his message across to the electorate. His opponent Lewis Spears? No one is quite sure.

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) released the 29-day pre-election fundraising and expense reports for all local and legislative candidates on Tuesday, but Spears and a number of local candidates missed it. the October 4 reporting deadline.

Michelle Lewis-Bellamy, Spears’ campaign manager, declined to provide a reason why he has yet to file a case, but said Spears plans to file the documents on Wednesday. Lewis-Bellamy added that the campaign has been in contact with ELEC officials and will not face any legal sanctions for failing to meet the deadline.

Spears’ failure to abide by election law is a “betrayal of public trust,” said Phil Swibinski, spokesperson for Fulop’s campaign. The mayor has a campaign bankroll of $ 840,000, even after spending $ 176,000 since July, according to his latest filing.

Spears was not alone, however. Documents for other independent and progressive city council candidates challenging the Fulop-backed list – Frank Gilmore and Vernon Richardson in Ward F and Danielle Freire in Ward D – are also overdue.

Two incumbents backed by the powerful Hudson County Democratic organization, 33rd District MP Annette Chaparro and 31st District Senator Sandra Cunningham, also failed to complete their paperwork on time. Cunningham is still heading for the election and still faces DWI charges filed after she crashed into parked cars in Jersey City in March.

Sylvia Burch, Gilmore’s campaign treasurer, said she intended to file it on Tuesday, after mistakenly filing the form in July. She did not explain why Gilmore missed the October 4 deadline. Freire said on Tuesday that she would file her papers this week.

Richardson and Chaparro did not provide an explanation for the missing documents. A representative from Cunningham’s office, who declined to give his name, insisted that Cunningham’s documents had been submitted, even though they had not been published on the ELEC site on Tuesday.

“It’s really a basic level of transparency,” Swibinski said, adding that candidates who failed to file their forms by the deadline should be disqualified “by the voters” from the election.

The missed deadline and lack of campaign money are just a few signs that these progressive challengers are facing an uphill battle against Team Fulop.

While the mayor has nearly $ 840,000 at his disposal, his council candidates – general council members Joyce Watterman and Daniel Rivera and general candidate Amy DeGise; Ward A Councilor Denise Ridley; the councilor of district B Mira Prinz-Arey; the municipal councilor of the C district Richard Boggiano; the municipal councilor of the district D Yousef Saleh; Jake Hudnut, candidate for Ward E; and F Ward Councilor Jermaine Robinson – had a combined total of $ 731,000 on hand as of Oct. 12.

Competitors for Team Fulop, which include outgoing board members Rolando Lavarro Jr. (in general) and James Solomon (Ward E), have generally raised significantly less money so far.

Solomon, in a heated contest with City Attorney Hudnut for the downtown vote, had nearly $ 86,000, but the next highest candidate, Tom Zuppa in Ward C, had only 24,000. $. Lavarro – who only officially announced his campaign at the end of August – has only $ 13,000 to try to keep one of three seats in a group of seven including DeGise, the OHCHR president and the daughter of County Director Tom DeGise.

The files of some applicants have shown even greater funding problems. General candidate Chris Gadsden’s campaign owes $ 5,225, and John Salierno’s campaign for Ward D has brought in no money raised as of October 4.

In a run for the State Assembly, political newcomer William Sampson IV was able to raise a net total of nearly $ 42,000 on October 4, mainly through several large donations from various labor groups. The mayor of Bayonne, Jimmy Davis, handpicked the crane operator and the longshoreman to present himself in the 31st arrondissement of the Assembly in March.

In Jersey City, Swibinski said Fulop’s campaign was using his money for a “global” campaign that included mail, outreach by volunteers and advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook, where he spent nearly of $ 7,500 since July.

Team Fulop challengers, instead of relying on fundraising, are looking to use their social media platforms and public events like Candidate Forums to raise awareness and spread the word. The Journal Square community association will host one of these Event, in which Fulop and Spears will face off at the Hudson County Community College Student Center on Saturday, October 16 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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