The image late in the day Monday of U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) hustling through the streets of the Jersey City Heights with Mayor Jerry Healy created the inevitable aftermath question about payback.
And the question: Will Jersey City Mayor-elect Steve Fulop run a candidate against the sitting congressman next year?
“There will be time for politics down the road,” said Fulop spokesman Bruno Tedeschi. “Right now, Steve is focused on the transition and setting up his administration.”
He was also taking calls from friends and foes trying to be friends, Sires among them, who had what one source called a “gracious” conversation with the mayor-elect.
A source close to Sires said the congressman’s allies, however, were not leaving the congressman’s future up to fuzzy phone call feelings from Fulop.
They were working the phones relentlessly all day, telling people that Sires backed Healy out of loyalty and now those people on the other ends of those lines had to do the same “for Albio.”
In the meantime, sources in the Fulop fold turned their attention to Freeholder Bill O’Dea of Jersey City as the most likely man to have the mayor-elect’s support for a run at Sires – if such a run occurs next year.
O’Dea describes himself as the first elected official to endorse Fulop.
“I never rule anything out but I haven’t had any concrete discussions (about running for Congress),” said O’Dea, who coincidentally or not wrote a book about a character who runs for Congress.
“We’ll see,” O’Dea added. “One of the reasons people might be interested is I have a bit of a presence in Elizabeth (as the economic development director).”
One source told PolitickerNJ.com that Fulop wants to take the 8th District congressional seat out from under the West New York-based Sires, and return it to Jersey City.
Fulop wouldn’t comment.
One other source close to Sires dismissed O’Dea as an option and described a future Fulop congressional candidacy as a much more likely option.