Running for reelection this year in pursuit of a fourth term in what amounts to a walk-over Nov. 3rd election for him in his heavily Democratic city, East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser didn’t rule out running again next year, for a different office, though- against Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
News today that DiVincenzo’s county employee underlings- state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) and state Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) – plan to back South Jersey product, Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford), in his challenge of Codey, thereby swinging the balance of senate power to South Jersey, rankled Bowser.
“I think Joe DiVincenzo has his priorities twisted,” said Bowser. “He should be supporting Dick Codey.
“Nothing against Sheila Oliver,” Bowser added of the Assemblywoman who ran against him in a 1997 mayoral primary and lost by 51 votes, who now stands to beSpeaker of the Assembly asan Essex County counterweight to Sweeney’s upper house ascension.
“But Dick Codey has been good for all the Essex County towns,” Bowser said.”They’re trying to sell this as a trade-off, but Ithink the Senate Presidency is more important than Speaker. Look, it ain’t over. But the idea of challenging Codey like that – I know what Sen. Codey can do, he’s supportive of what we do.Given the help we’ve gotten from himin the senate, why shouldn’twe be supportive? I’m frankly concerned that Steve Sweeney doesn’t understand urban issues the way Dick Codey does.”
Bowser stopped short of saying he would challenge DiVincenzo.
“I have a general election, it’s not in my thought path right now,” he said. “But I made Joe D. aware of the fact that if he went against Codey someone might run against him. His record is building parks.And by the way, who got him the money to build those parks? Dick Codey.
“This ain’t over.”