PASSAIC – A show of force rally Monday on the steps of City Hall featuring U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-Hoboken) raising the arm of Mayor Alex Blanco didn’t intimidate city supervisor Vincent Capuana, who’s challenging Blanco in the May 12th election.
“You don’t think Menendez was there to protect that big (legal) contract of his friend, Donald Scarinci?” queried Capuana, a longtime School Board member who lost to Blanco by 200 votes in last year’s special election for mayor.
Scarinci’s firm gets $350,000 annually for the legal work it performs in Passaic. He has had the contract since 1992 and in that time has served the administrations of four mayors.
“I have not been involved in the campaign or contributed to any candidate,” longtime Menendez backer Scarinci told PolitickerNJ.com.
Blanco may have Menendez backing him but Capuana argues that the support he enjoys from former mayoral candidates, running mate Councilman Joe Garcia and real estate developer Jose Sandoval, is more meaningful.
“You should see my base,” said the challenger. “It’s bigger than his. Sandoval and Garcia are a bigger piece of the pie. Honestly, I think they’re playing with fire when they bring him down here. This is supposed to be a nonpartisan race for mayor, and here’s Menendez. They shouldn’t be supporting Democrats against other Democrats. I didn’t see my friend (U.S. Rep.) Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) there. I didn’t see Gov. Jon Corzine there.”
Appearing with Menendez at Blanco’s rally, State Democratic Party Chairman Joe Cryan read a statement from the governor in support of the incumbent mayor.
Capuana and Blanco are scheduled to go head-to-head in a debate at the YMCA on Monday at 7 p.m.