Frank Raia also wants to be Mayor
Deja Vu all over again…
Frank Raia runs again
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Though Frank “Pupie” Raia is certainly not insane he sure seems to be a glutton for punishment. Frank is a good guy who throws a great party, but he’s also a longtime political player and real estate developer/wheeler dealer better known for helping others win elections than he is for winning himself. Frank can be a kingmaker – like when he pushed Dawn Zimmer over Chris Campos in the fourth ward race in 2007 – but he has yet to be King.
“This town is way out of whack”
Those were Pupie’s words after Hoboken voted him off the Board of Education last April. He lost to all three members of the Kids First ticket. Pupie’s closest friends and associates point to that race and ask how he thinks he can win this winner-take-all Mayoral contest at a time of year when more – not fewer – newcomers will vote. Here’s how Raia has faired in recent elections:
2003 Board of Ed: Won seat with 2,028 votes
2005 Mayoral: Lost, failed to make runoff with 2,004 votes
2006 Board of Ed: Re-elected with 1,628 votes
2007 3rd Ward Council: Lost with 626 votes
2008 Freeholder Primary: Lost with 1,704 votes in Hoboken
2009 Board of Ed: Lost seat with 2,373 votes
What’s the point here? Well, for one Raia can usually count on pulling in an average of around 2000 votes in city-wide races, which is not enough to win the Mayor’s seat. Both Dawn Zimmer and Beth Mason have proven they can win more votes than Raia ever has. While Pupie’s support for Peter Cammarano helped put him over the top in both May and June, Raia has never shown that he can build a coalition of voters to put him over the top for anything more than weakly contested school board seats in 2003 and 2006. When faced with real competition, Raia lost in 2009.
So what is Frank really doing here?
Since very few people think Raia can win what is it he’s doing here? The hard-core conspiracy theorists say he is in the race to help Dawn Zimmer beat Beth Mason. As the theory goes Frank would take some of the anti-Zimmer votes that went to Cammarano last time, and could be won by Mason this time if not for Raia’s entrance into the race. I don’t really buy that because Raia could just as easily help Zimmer the same way he helped Cammarano and Roberts: by working his voters to support the candidate of his choice.
Remember, Zimmer endorsed Raia over Ines Garcia-Keim in the Freeholder race and Frank was seen on YouTube escorting Zimmer around the HHA and bragging about what his money could buy.
What does Frank want?
He wants to be Mayor, but barring that he may be looking for someone to make a deal with him for the other things he wants such as:
- Support for another run for Board of Ed
- Support for another run for Freeholder
- Reappointment to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority board as a Hoboken representative (he now serves as a Weehawken rep on the board)
- Consideration for any development projects he is planning in town
Raia still owns developable properties in Hoboken, including the “Mercury Site” and properties in the Northwest Redevelopment Zone as a partner with Ursa/Tarragon.
Pupie turned in his petitions to run a day early. The question now is whether his name will be on the ballot in November, or he steps aside to support one of the other candidates. A lot may depend on how many people actually file to run today by the 4pm deadline.
There are many shoes yet to drop before the ballot positions are picked, setting the election players in stone.