Twenty-one days before Election Day, Perth Amboy has become ground zero for Democratic Party politics, the bragging rights battleground for possible future gubernatorial candidates Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19), state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18), Newark Mayor Cory Booker and state Sen. Richard Codey (D-27).
Hours after Wisniewski intends to endorse challenger Billy Delgado, Booker will keynote a fundraiser for incumbent Mayor WIlda Diaz.
Codey gave $4,500 to Diaz.
Diaz has the support of state Sen. Joe Vitale (D-19), who backed Codey in his unsuccessful 2009 bid to hold onto his Senate presidency. She also has the backing of Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, who served as treasurer in the administration of Acting Gov. Codey.
Feeling out her own 2013 gubernatorial bid, Buono also backs Diaz.
Sources say Wisniewski worried about a public declaration of support for Delgado until the challenger dismissed controversial campaign consultant Jim Devine.
Devine yesterday told reporters he’s out, but today, a political operative from a rival campaign said he received an email communiqué in which the operative gave every indication he was operating on behalf of Delgado.
In any event, Paul Swibinski – last seen running the unsuccessful June democratic Primary campaign of U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9) – has stepped in to undertake an official campaign messaging role for Delgado.
Formerly Booker’s chief of staff, Pablo Fonseca is operating for challenger Frank Salado, who hopes the big warlord clanking between the Diaz and Delgado camps will create an opportunity for a grassroots operation.
“Frank Salado is definitely in the race,” Fonseca told PolitickerNJ.com. “I feel good that this is going to be a big upset. As these large organizations are, as long as these large political figures are fighting with each other we’re committed to the residents of Perth Amboy. The residents aren’t worried about which player is coming from out of town to endorse a candidate. They’re worried about their taxes skyrocketing and their high school ranked last in the state. We’re not concerned with the power players, we’re worried about the taxpayers.”