The team from legislative district 28—state Senator Ron Rice, Assemblyman Raph Caputo and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker—has endorsed incumbent Mayor Michael Venezia for the Bloomfield June 7 primary where he will be competing against Councilman Joseph Lopez.
“Mike Venezia is operating an inclusive, effective administration and it’s clear that he is committed to his community and responsive to the needs of all of his residents,” said Rice in a statement. “I am excited to join the Mayor’s team and will do whatever I can to support him.”
Team Venezia has also gotten the endorsement of Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones. Venezia’s council slate includes councilmembers Wartyna Davis and Carlos Pomares and Council candidate Ted Gamble.
While both Lopez and Venezia are Democrats, the race has become increasingly divided. Recently, the LD18 team attended two events (one hosted by Lopez and the other by Venezia) regarding racial profiling allegations made against the Bloomfield police by a Seton Hall Law Study. At those events, the leadership asked that the issue not be used for political purposes.
This is not the only endorsement Rice made this week. On Wednesday, the senator endorsed Elsie Foster-Dublin in the leadership reshuffling in LD18 that was caused by a senate seat vacated by Superior Court Judge Peter Barnes as he moved up. After Barnes’ move the LD18 Assembly seat vacated by Senator Pat Diegnan as he moved up to fill Barnes’ senate spot, leaving an opening in the assembly. In last night’s convention, Edison Councilman Robert Karabinchak got the support of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee to pursue the position.