EDITORIAL — In preparation for a new round of local elections in Kearny & Harrison

Buckle up.

Two of four council races in Kearny will be contested — and the incumbent Mayor of Harrison faces a challenge from a common opponent — in November.

Let’s start with the latter.

Mayor James A. Fife easily became the Democratic nominee for the November election, but on Primary Day, June 7, former Harrison Councilman Anselmo Millan filed a petition to challenge Fife for the seat — again — as an unaffiliated candidate (you may hear Millan is running as an “independent,” but in New Jersey, there is an actual declarable “Independent Party.” In this case, Millan is running unaffiliated with any party, though he remains a Democrat.)

Millan also ran for Harrison mayor in 2018 and Fife won rather easily, despite a most contentious election season. That year, Fife won in a June primary as Millan ran for his party’s nomination. 

Then Millan ran the following year for a council seat, again, as an unaffiliated candidate, and lost that election rather handily, too. In fact, Millan has typically only won elections when he is a part of the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s party line, something that has not happened in close to a decade, following a fallout with Fife et al. 

In Kearny, the races in the Third and Fourth wards include Dems facing off against unaffiliated candidates. In the Third, it’s Democrat Eileen Eckel against Kearny teacher and pastor David Paszkiewicz. In the Fourth, it’s newcomer Stathis Theodoropoulous squaring off against last year’s mayoral challenger Sydney J. Ferreira. Neither has ever held elected office.

Why do we remind readers of this? Well it’s simple. The 2018 in Harrison was most contentious. The same may be said of the 2021 mayoral primary — and this year’s election features characters from both of the aforementioned. We urge the candidates to remain positive this time. We urge them to run on issues, not on personal politics. Voters in West Hudson deserve much better that what they’ve seen before. 

As such, they should settle for nothing other than a clean, crisp campaign from all candidates.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.