State Senator Sandra Cunningham is expected to resign for health reasons said a report published yesterday in the New Jersey Globe.
According to the Globe, Cunningham has been hospitalized at Jersey City Medical Center since October 4 and is suffering from “a severe” decline in her cognitive health.
Attorney and former Jersey City Corporation Council, Matthew Burns, has been appointed to manage Cunningham’s personal affairs.
Should Cunningham resign, John Minella, chief of staff to Mayor Fulop, is said to have the inside track to serve out Cunningham’s term which expires on January 11, 2024.
Minella rose to prominence this year as chairman of the Jersey City Ward Commission. In January, the commission voted to redraw Jersey City’s six wards and, in so doing, split the historically Black neighborhood of Lafayette which was represented by Frank Gilmore. Some saw the move as payback for Gilmore’s defeat of Fulop ally Jermaine Robinson and as a way to remove SciTech Scity and Morris Canal Park Manor from Gilmore’s oversight. A lawsuit to set aside the decision proved unsuccessful.
Names mentioned as possible permanent replacements for Cunningham include Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, and Hudson County Commissioners Bill O’Dea and Jerry Walker.
Fulop will make the ultimate decision as to who gets the Hudson County Democratic Organization line.
Cunningham, the widow of Jersey City’s first Black mayor, Glenn D. Cunningham, was sworn in to fill the vacant 31st Legislative District Senate seat on Nov. 8, 2007. Two days prior to joining the Senate, she was elected to a full term that began in January, 2008. She was re-elected in 2011, 2013, 2017 and last year.