To the extent that the Robert McDonnell case helps embattled U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop stands to gain.
Fulop has more than both big toes in the steam bath of 2017 gubernatorial politics right now, and Menendez was always his biggest ally.
In the words of one source close to Fulop, “He [Menendez] is an extremely good validator.”
One of Fulop’s thorniest political challenges remains Essex County, where powerful County Executive Joe DiVincenzo has strong political ties to South Jersey Democratic Party Kingpin George Norcross III.
Norcross is not a Fulop fan.
But a fit Menendez can gnaw on DiVincenzo’s ear the way few others can, and the senator in Fulop’s corner might provide Joe D. the comfort level he needs to at least give Fulop a look see.
Right now, with Menendez wounded, Fulop represents little to DiVincenzo other than an youthful irritant.
But it’s more than just Joe D. love Fulop can extract from a more muscled up Menendez. In addition to serving as a validator, the senator has a statewide operation – useful for Fulop – and he can raise a lot of money – which certainly can’t hurt.
Of course, the McDonnell case wasn’t the only outcome occupying the attention of Fulop and company and Menendez’s legal team. “If Hillary wins [the presidency in November], I think a lot of people assume the whole case is gonna get lost in the Lincoln bedroom,” one source cracked.