Considering the madness that went down in Jersey City in 2009, it is another relatively light year for Chilltown on Politicker’s annual recap of Winners & Losers in New Jersey politics.
The Healy campaign for mayor lands at number three on the “Best Campaigns of the Year” list, behind Chris Christie’s gubernatorial run and Nelson Albano and Matt Milam’s runs for State Assembly in District 1.
“The uncertainties of Jersey City politics made Team Healy remain in campaign mode for four years. They raised lots of money, ran an excellent incumbency protection operation from City Hall, and scared some serious challengers out of the race,” Politicker says, ostensibly referring to Ward E councilman Steven Fulop, state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, and former mayor Bret Schundler, all of whom were at one time weighing a run at Healy. “With a 53%-26% win (his two main competitors were arrested two months later), Jerry Healy is only Jersey City Mayor since Frank Hague to win three times without a runoff.”
Elsewhere on the list, Solomon Dwek, who helped take down many Jersey City politicians and officials as part of the federal corruption probe, was named “Criminal of the Year.” Meanwhile, Ward C councilwoman Nidia Rivera Lopez, who endured a legal battle over her residency after winning election, is dubbed “Disney Character of the Year.”
And last, but not least, former deputy mayor and Healy campaign treasurer Leona Beldini, who is awaiting her trial on corruption charges, is dubbed “Stripper of the Year.” She gets that prize as a result of unconfirmed reports on a burlesque blog that connects Beldini to a former burlesque dancer named Hope Diamond. The blog’s report, which we checked out when it first surfaced back in the summer, features some pretty convincing evidence that Beldini was indeed Diamon, who danced in the mid-20th century, but as of this writing, that fact hasn’t yet been confirmed.
You can read the full report here.