Former Assemblyman Sean Connors of Jersey City has been meeting with community groups, unions, and former elected officials as he sizes up his prospects for a 2017 mayoral run in his home town. He’s right there, he just hasn’t pulled the trigger on a run, and continues to assess his options.
He has a complicated recent political history.
Originally an ally of Mayor Jerry Healy, Connors went over to the Steven Fulop camp in the lead up to the 2013 mayor’s race. Politically engineered by the Heights, he ended up running for a Ward D council seat on the Fulop slate, the Ward E citywide comer’s way of showing ticket balance.
But Connors lost to insurgent Michael Yun, who himself is now thinking of throwing in to run for mayor next year.
Once conceived by the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) as the man most likely to find himself on a political collision course with hipster out of towner turned yuppie champion Fulop, local fire pole-reared Detective Connors found himself flushed out of elected office once the guard changed and Fulop displaced Healy.
Two short years after getting groomed as the Jersey City establishment’s Trenton go-to guy, Connors had his nose pressed against the window of Team Healy, and had no deep loyalty among Fulop fans, who frankly distrusted him.
Healy’s people saw the cop as Benedict Arnold in dress blues for going across no man’s land to climb into Fulop’s foxhole in a crisis. As for the newly minted mayor’s view: in the words of one Fulop source close to the 2013 contest after Connors fell to Yun, “This worked out great for us. We won every seat we needed to, and Connors, having fulfilled his purpose by exposing the fault lines in the establishment and giving us breadth, lost. Perfect outcome. That’s the end of that headache.”
Connors was a casualty without a country to mourn him, or so it appeared at that time.
But the displaced assemblyman doesn’t see his career as over, and next year could prove to be his comeback.
Since 2013, the 47-year old has stayed visible, a ballgame and bingo club regular, reliably positive in all weather. He wants to be mayor, but will only run for the job next year if the timing is right, a source told PolitickerNJ. Connors would like to see the ballot referendum backed by Fulop defeated. A May, as opposed to a June or November, election, favors him, or so his allies argue.
Through the twists and turns of the last few years, he remains close to the North Bergen Democratic Party establishment.
For his part, regardless of Connors’s or anyone else’s movements, Bill Matsikoudis, former corporation counsel in the Healy Administration, appears well on his way to a formal announcement of his own run for mayor come autumn.