Things appear to be getting a little prickly between Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop and former Mayor Bret Schundler – two prospective candidates in next year’s mayoral election who share the same base of voters downtown.
At issue are the two ballot initiatives Fulop plans to put on the ballot in November – one which enacts a pay-to-play ban and another that bars city council members from accepting more than one public salary.
The initiatives also work as an organizing tool for Fulop, who’s used dozens of volunteers in the effort and hopes that it will increase his name recognition outside of his own Ward E.
After Fulop turned in enough signatures to get the initiatives on the ballot, Schundler came out wholeheartedly in support of them, and mentioned that he’d be willing to hold a joint press conference with Fulop in support of them.
Fulop, however, shot down that idea.
“I told Bret that I think that, while I welcome his support, I think he and I doing that together would send the wrong message to the volunteers. A lot of people put a lot of time in the last six months gathering signatures, and for him to come in at the 11th hour and ride peoples’ coattails, it’s not really my decision to say ‘Hey, jump on board.’”
Schundler said that was odd, since a joint press conference was Fulop’s idea to begin with.
“Steve has decided he doesn't want to do a joint press conference (strange, he originally proposed it), but I still plan to reach out to the other prospective mayoral candidates to support it, and if they do, to do a joint press conference about it,” he wrote in an email to PolitickerNJ.
Fulop disputed that account, saying that he offered to do an event together on legislative issues where they could find common ground, but “not with this issue by any means.” When he discussed the reforms with Schundler before turning in the signatures, Fulop said his support was “lukewarm.”
Moreover, Fulop said that Schundler was giving people the impression that he had formed an alliance between himself, Fulop and prospective council candidate Jimmy Carroll.
“In order to solicit extra support he’s telling people that Jimmy Carroll and I are on his ticket, which is not true,” he said. “I think he recognized this thing was a train leaving the station, but rather than getting run over, he should attach himself,” said Fulop.