The pain of the aftermath

It hurts. It hurts to go through it and it hurts to sit there and look at it when it goes down.

But there they were in Trenton, the lately vanquished making an effort in that stately chamber to appear at the office as usual.

Come New Year they’d be out the door.

There was Assemblyman Sal Vega,beaten by Assemblyman Brian Stack at the polls, sitting next to none other than Stack, who mostly stayed occupied on a cell-phonein the lead upMonday’s session.

"I was here working last Thursday, right after the election," said Vega.

There was Assemblyman Lou Manzo, buried in paperwork, prime sponsor of two pending bills on the environment.

"You win some, you lose some," he said with a smile, taking a tap on the shoulder and turning around to find fellow sufferer, Assemblyman Guy Gregg, who bear-hugged him: Hudson and Sussex in an embrace.

Gregg worked the room.

"We’ll miss your eloquence, and your fine public speaking," Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein told him. They’re diametrically opposed issues-wise, but they clutched hands.

Safe in the primary that last week upset her colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, now it’s Greenstein’s turn to head into the arena of an election, this one the general. Just as it's Assemblyman William Payne's turn, who looks to take on Mayor Cory Booker, power broker Steve Adubato and the North Ward in his independentbid to become State Senator in November.

Fights ended. Fights beginning. Fights without end.

Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo could not initially be found in the packed lower house, but when Speaker Joseph Roberts asked for the representative of a bill on contractors’ penalties to stand and be recognized, the Newark lawmaker who lost last week was down in front, voice unwavering in the aftermath.

"Mr. Speaker,"Caraballo said, "I make a motion that the bill be moved." The pain of the aftermath