TRENTON — State Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove) says that Republicans will give Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo a “run for his money” this year.
“We have two candidates in mind. They haven’t been ratified yet. But we have petitions out there,” said O’Toole, who doubles as GOP chairman in traditionally Democratic Essex County.
O’Toole wouldn’t name the candidate, only saying that he or she would be part of a “diverse ticket.” But it is expected that Republicans will pick Herbert Glenn, a Newark resident with a history of running long shot candidacies. He ran for state senate against Ronald Rice (D-Newark) in 2007 and assembly against Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark) and Ralph Caputo (D-Belleville) in 2009, in what is one of the most Democratic legislative districts in the state.
DiVincenzo is not expected to have a hard time securing a third term, and despite his opposite party label, O’Toole has long been considered his and North Ward power broker Steve Adubato’s ally.
“I recognize it’s an uphill battle,” said O’Toole. “He’s a maniac in many ways. He is tireless, he works hard, but that’s not to say he will be without a challenge. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way…. You still have the issue that taxes continue to go up. Bonding continues to be a problem.”
It doesn’t take much prodding, however, for O’Toole to say nice things about DiVincenzo, especially considering that the County Executive’s two predecessors landed in jail.
“When you look at the history of the county executive office, he has in many respects risen above the problems of the past,” he said.
As to their inter-party friendship?
“Understand, when you’re not campaigning and you’re governing, Republicans and Democrats have to work together,” said O’Toole. “That’s the reality, and that reality has existed in Essex County for as long as I’ve been around.”