ATLANTIC CITY – The escalator at One Atlantic deposited visitors in a glass and steel-enclosed room above the ocean, where awaited Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6), Voorhees.
It was Greenwald’s party at this annual League of Municipalities gathering, and the South Jersey leader’s guests included South Jersey Democratic Party boss George Norcross III, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto (D-32), Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), state Sen. Bob Gordon (D-38), strategist Julie Roginsky, lobbyist Bill Maer, Passaic County Dems operative Keith Furlong, Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer and South Jersey operative Steve Ayscue.
Jarred by the power of Gov. Chris Christie, Democrats seized on the post-election backdrop of the League to consider the rising statewide face-off of two potential candidates for governor: Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.
The undercard features Greenwald and Assemblyman John McKeon (D-27), the much-muttered potential sub for Fulop if the mayor decides he doesn’t want to take on Sweeney in a 2017 Democratic Primary.
Two Democratic sources told PolitickerNJ.com that McKeon is in mulling mode concerning a statewide bid.
Mike Capelli, executive secretary-treasurer of the Northeast Carpenters Union, ranged above his fellow guests and considered the two frontrunners.
“They are two phenomenal candidates and it’s too early to decide,” said the labor leader, who put considerable resources behind legislative candidates this last cycle and made his mark as a statewide player.
Cappelli has a leg in both camps. The carpenters played heavily in Fulop’s mayoral victory last May, and have close ties to the Building Trades-schooled Sweeney.
Fulop was nearby.
A short walk down the boardwalk amid the battery acid splash of funhouse, casino and bar lights, a barful of men in the Irish Pub gathered around a tight-packed corner of tables occupied by former Gov. James McGreevey, Fulop and other notables, including Assemblyman Sean Kean (R-30), Fulop operative Tom Bertolli, Essex County Freeholder Rufus Johnson, Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7), and Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin.
Fulop’s advisor, McGreevey put the event together for his boss.
PolitickerNJ.com broached the question about governor 2017 and a circle of Newark insiders said they were too stunned trying to absorb life in their city post-Mayor Cory Booker.
“Everyone said he didn’t do enough, and we didn’t like him when he was mayor but now that he’s gone, we’re horrified,” said the source amid the other stricken barlit faces.