Michael Russo Supports Frank Raia
Now, the second in the series on City Council endorsements in the three-way winner-take-all primary for 5th District Hudson County Freeholder. Third ward Councilman Michael Russo has endorsed his on again/off again rival Frank “Pupie” Raia. Last week Hoboken411 offered every Hoboken City Council member the opportunity to send an endorsement letter of up to 250 words in support of the candidate of their choice. Councilman Russo did not respond to that request, but anyone who drives by the Russo Civic Association at 420 Adams Street can tell exactly who he’s supporting.
This may come as a surprise to anyone who lived through the bruising election for Third Ward council last year, when the HCDO-supported Raia challenged the DFHC-aligned Russo. The race was one of the nastiest in town, and even included some physical altercations. When Raia called himself a “doer,” Russo called him a “taker and a liar.”
Raia countered by calling on the Russos to pay restitution to the City of Hoboken for crimes committed by former Mayor Anthony Russo.
And that is just a look at what the two candidates said publicly. The street campaign and midnight fliers were even worse. Still, at the end of the campaign Raia marched to the Russo Civic Association to congratulate Russo on his victory.
Now less than a year later Russo has made the surprising decision to support Raia for Freeholder. To those who have only paid attention to Hoboken politics for the past few years this news may seem stunning. Others who have been around longer note the interests of the Raias and Russos have been intertwined for decades. Raia and former Mayor Anthony Russo reportedly met regularly with then-Union City Mayor Rudy Garcia and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell in a group called “The Thursday Night Club.” Raia was also designated developer of the Northwest Redevelopment Zone by Russo, though most of the projects there have been built during the Roberts administration.
Some say Mike Russo is going with Pupie Raia simply because he knows his rival will win the Third Ward handily, and doesn’t want to risk backing a horse that may lose his home turf. Once again, the councilman was offered the opportunity to share 250 words of his thoughts on Raia, but he did not respond.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section.