DiVincenzo displays major support from Democratic Party chairs, minus Rice

Atan event that will never be ajudged as the model for Roberts Rules of Order, the municipal chairs of the Essex County Democratic Committee lined up last night in near unanimity behind the re-election of Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.

Of the 26 chairs either in attendance at a Monday night Nanina's in the Park meeting or accounted for, only state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark) did not signify his support for the two-term DiVincenzo.

That's no newsflash, given the history.

Targeted by DiVincenzo in his own ultimately successful 2007 senate campaign, Rice's no-show last night occurred against the backdrop of a low-grade Essex County civilwar between DiVincenzo and Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland), a Rice ally.

Codey was irritated in the fall when his rival for the senate presidency, Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) declared his victory over Codey in the Democratic caucus, in part with the help of two DiVincenzo employees: state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) and state Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair).

East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser told PolitickerNJ.com shortly after the gubrnatorial election that he had not ruled out a challenge to DiVincenzo in next year's June primary with the support of Codey and Rice.

Sources close to Codey say a Bowser run would hinge on the independent Democratic Party support Codey could generate in western Essex County, coupled with a combination of urban support Rice and Bowser wouldmuster in western Newark and East Orange respectively.

DiVincenzo intends to make his formal announcement for re-election on Dec. 11th.

The following is a list ofhis supporters – released by DiVincenzo sources – who are also chairs of their respective local Democratic committees: Marie Strumolo-Burke (Belleville); Peter Stumolo (Bloomfield); Susan Gartland (Caldwell); Leroy Jones (East Orange); Frank Giantomasi (Essex Fells); Mary Ann Guardabascio (Fairfield); Jackie Yustein (Glen Ridge); D. Bilal Beasley (Irvington); Pat Sebod (Livingston); Ian Grodman (Maplewood); Nick Romano (Millburn); Brendan Gill (Montclair); Fran Adubato (Newark); Bernice Robinson (Newark); Angelo DeFederico (Newark); Andre Speight (Newark); Lee Fisher (Newark); Eileen Fishman (North Caldwell); Carmen Orechio (Nutley); Kevin Keogh (Roseland); Stacey Jennings (South Orange); Robert Detore (Verona); Alexander Trento (West Caldwell); andJohnSkarbnick(West Orange).

Several in attendance later confessed they were surprised by the suddenness of Sebold's call for a resolution and later grumblingly eyed their names in printed support of DiVincenzo.

They didn't feel strong-armed, just somewhat abruptly cowed.

Orange Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, a Codey ally,attended last night's county committee meeting, but arrived afterthe vote on the resolution endorsing DiVincenzo for a third term. DiVincenzo displays major support from Democratic Party chairs, minus Rice