Nightmare in Elizabeth’s First Ward as Grova digs in against Padilla

The ground game turned another bend of ugliness in Elizabeth on Sunday morning in the  First Ward, where opposing sides clashed and police responded to a call of men wielding knives. 
 
“My opposition has become very negative in this campaign,” Councilman Manny Grova (pictured) told PolitickerNJ.com. “I’ve never run in a campaign like this.” 

But allies of Grova’s opponent – Diego Padilla – say it was the councilman’s men with the knives.

When the PD arrived and patted them down, they found no weapons.

“From what I understand, it was a made up story,” said Grova. “There was no knife when the police got there.”

More offensive to Grova is his opponents’ decision to invoke the councilman’s children and Grova’s decision not to send them to schools in the First Ward.

“I don’t know what that has to do with being a councilman,” Grova said. “I’m running on my record. There’s been a lot of new development in the First Ward. There are a lot of community meetings – every month. My opposition, meanwhile, is unknown. He’s never given his phone number to anyone.”

Sources on the inside of Elizabeth politics say despite the street drama, Grova – a potential future candidate for mayor – is not in any real dogfight with Padilla.

But Grova says he’s running hard against them anyway, and criticizes the Board of Education-backed candidates for running more against state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) and Mayor Chris Bollwage than the council.

“I don’t think they have much support,” said the councilman. “This gentleman has been running against me since August of last year. His house is up for sale with (School Board member Rafael) Fajardo’s realty company. They’re trying to hide that fact. Tell me, how do you put house up for sale in August and still decide you will run for office? You’ve got to be accessible.

“I don’t think I’ve spoken to Bollwage once in the last three years,” Grova added. “These guys are trying to mount an attack, even though they’ve been snagged more than once for using Board of Education money for political purposes.”

Nightmare in Elizabeth’s First Ward as Grova digs in against Padilla