BELLEVILLE – They raced across the swamplands of North Jersey, black sedans and SUVs with government plates – descending on Nanina’s in the Park, where the bar buzz subsided as a young man put down his BlackBerry to shake the hand of a familiar powerful political presence, an arch rival, a day removed from their epic head-on collision in Newark.
It was Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, thrown suddenly into close proximity at a fundraiser for Speaker Vinny Prieto (D-32), Secaucus.
They chatted amiably, said a source, less than 24 hours after Fulop’s candidate for Newark mayor put the hurt on DiVincenzo’s choice and altered the dynamics of North Jersey Democratic Party politics.
“He wants a good relationship with Joe D,” a source said, in reference to Fulop. “He recognizes Joe’s importance.”
Gravitas boots were in full effect, another source said.
“The last thing Steve wanted to do was go ‘na-na-na-na-na-nah,” the source told PolitickerNJ, who described the tenor of the conversation as a mutual effort to “get back to where we were before all of this and move forward.”
The men planned a dinner.
The encounter vibed with a running theme at this Prieto-centric event and if one could put it into two words it would be these: North Jersey.
“Hudson is united,” declared emcee Joey Muniz, and the clapping that ensued included Prieto (who chairs the Hudson County Democratic Organization), Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato, Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones, and Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie.
A beaming state Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32), North Bergen, was in the room.
So were U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) and West New York Mayor Felix Roque.
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise rapidly made the rounds. A day later he issued his formal announcement to run for re-election.
Paul Brubaker, statewide director for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mo Butler, statewide director for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), also attended.
Facing a June 10th runoff after Tuesday night’s shocking outcome, in which an enormous cash advantage over his opponent, 13 mail pieces and TBS network TVs couldn’t knock out Jimmy Davis, Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith appeared at the packed event.
Muniz lionized Fulop at the microphone, praising the Jersey City Mayor as a star who continues to help unite Hudson County.