It’s a finesse game.
Sources who said Steve Fulop a day after he defeated Jerry Healy told Mark Smith that he was “coming for him,” now have an image of the following: Fulop and Smith walking in the Belmar St. Patrick’s Day Parade, not together, but close enough to wag some tongues.
Better though – people saw the Jersey City mayor and Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31) dining in a local eatery in the time vicinity of the parade.
Mutually dissed by Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, the pair see a mutually beneficial pairing.
Long floated as a gubernatorial prospect by the same allies who got behind former state Sen. Barbara Buono’s (D-18) gubernatorial candidacy, Smith would better serve Fulop happily localized in Bayonne rather than horning in on Fulop’s action as a fellow Hudson Dem in search of statewide love in a future party primary.
Rather than make a martyr of Smith and inflate him as a survivor capable of cutting a deal with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and leaping into a statewide primary to regionally tomahawk him, Fulop wants to make nice with Smith.
The allies of Smith’s mayoral nemesis, Police Captain Jimmy Davis, keep telling a lonely circle of allies that Fulop forces will soon provide reinforcements to their Bayonne cause.
But don’t be surprised to see Tommy Bertoli, the Jersey City mayor’s number one field operative, surface in Bayonne – on the Smith – not Davis – payroll – with that statewide alliance very much on Fulop’s mind.
“They’re never going to be close friends,” a source told PolitickerNJ, “but tell me Mark wouldn’t be a great surrogate for Steve at some of the Irish festivals along the shore come campaign time.”