NEWARK – Assemblywoman Grace Spencer (D-Newark) welcomed friends to the Robert Treat Hotel for a low-key fundraiser on Wednesday night, including State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Newark), Newark Mayor Cory Booker,Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-South Orange).
Booker hailed Spencer as a tireless public advocate and joked that she often text messages him late into the night with advice about what he should do to run the city.
An ally of the mayor’s who was part of the deal last year among North Ward Democratic Leader Steve Adubato, East Ward Democratic Leader Joseph Parlavecchio and Booker that joined the District 29 team of Ruiz, Coutinho and Spencer, the assemblywoman relies on Booker’s support.
But as long as Booker and Adubato fight, Spencer remains in survival mode.
Although the powerful North Ward leader respects the young councilwoman, Adubato also may decide next year to run someone against her as another way of trying to soften Booker a year before the mayoral election. Or he may try to extract Spencer’s support for alternatives to the Booker Team in exchange for keeping her on the line.
Spencer told the crowd tonight that whatever happens, she wants someday to be remembered simply as a public servant.
“It’s about the people I’ve always helped,” said the South Ward native. “I had friends from the South Ward come to the fundraiser tonight. One friend, she wrote a check even in these hard times. People that touched me came.”