Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo is in the campaign of his life.
He’s working the phones, meeting with his campaign staff at all hours for strategy sessions and sending out mailers to county voters looking for support.
Or so it would seem. In reality, DiVincenzo is not up for election for another 18 months and even then it might not be much of a show.
But DiVincenzo’s latest campaign finance reports, filed earlier this month, show a familiar pattern, one covered in reports by both PolitickerNJ and the Star Ledger.
From January until March 31, DiVincenzo funneled more than $4,100 from his campaign account to pay for meals. In all, the county executive paid for 39 meals during the 90-day span, and on at least two days ate out three times courtesy of his campaign donors.
The 90-day binge continues a pattern established throughout last year when the Star Ledger reported DiVincenzo spent more 15 cents of every dollar shelled out by his campaign on meals.
One fee that remains on the report from last year is a $42,000 legal fee payable to election law wiz Angelo Genova. DiVincenzo is the subject of an inquiry from the Election Law Enforcement Commission over previous reports.
One charge that does not appear on this year’s report is for DiVincenzo’s annual Super Bowl weekend trip to Puerto Rico. Last year, the county executive racked up $3,000 in charges on the trip including plane tickets, hotel and meals. All of it was paid for by the campaign.
DiVincenzo is not up for re-election until 2014 and he ran unopposed in the 2010 primary.
When he does run, he should be easy to reach. According to his latest report, the campaign is spending more than $1,200 per quarter on phones.