(JTA) — Steven Fulop, the Jewish mayor of Jersey City who played a central role in responding to the 2019 attack on a kosher supermarket there, is running for governor of New Jersey.
Fulop, 46, has been the mayor of the city, New Jersey’s second-largest, for nearly a decade. The election to replace Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who is term-limited, is more than two years away, in 2025.
Fulop, also a Democrat, has overseen major development in the city, according to Politico. He is a marine veteran and had previously explored a run for governor in 2017. He is the only candidate to officially enter the race thus far.
He was Jersey City’s mayor when, in 2019, two shooters fired on a kosher supermarket in the city’s small Hasidic community, killing one of the proprietors, a customer, an employee and a police officer at a separate location. The shooting happened amid a string of antisemitic incidents in the New York City area.
Fulop called the attack a hate crime the next day
Fulop drew attention for calling the shooting a hate crime a day after it occurred and one day before the state attorney general made the same determination publicly. Fulop defended that choice on Twitter, writing that according to video, the shooters chose the kosher supermarket intentionally.
“We shouldn’t parse words on whether this is a hate crime at this point,” he wrote. “This was a hate crime against Jewish ppl + hate has no place.”
Days later, he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “Had I said that we were unsure of the motives or the reasons or whether it was a hate crime, I feel like it would’ve jeopardized my relationship with the community, the trust I’ve built, and at the end of the day we would have looked very foolish.”
Before high school, Fulop attended Jewish day schools, and his father, who fought in the Israeli army during the 1967 Six-Day War, owned a deli in Newark. All four of his grandparents survived the Holocaust.