NORTH BERGEN – Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop surveyed the national political scene in the aftermath of the GOP’s nationwide success in the 2014 elections and reiterated the famed maxim of the late Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill: All politics is local.
“I honestly can’t tell you what the strategic decisions were [nationally],” said Fulop on Monday when asked by PolitickerNJ if the Democrats’ large-scale losses in the 2014 election were a result of many Democrats mistakenly disavowing U.S. President Barack Obama’s record, or from assertions that the Democratic president failed to effectively lead his party. “I think it depends state by state.”
Fulop made his remarks after he spoke at a North Bergen press conference in support of a proposed bill backed by state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) that would restore a portion of sales tax revenue to municipalities with Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ) in an effort to spur economic development.
The mayor of New Jersey’s second-largest city, who is a potential 2017 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, made his point by breaking down the behavior of different Democratic candidates around the nation.
“You had some states where candidates wouldn’t acknowledge whether they voted for President Obama, which came across as disingenuous. In other states, the President came in late to campaign and was embraced,” said Fulop, referring first to Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Kentucky who was defeated by Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, then to Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who held off Republican challenger Tom Foley. “It’s really case by case, state by state. What I do think unfortunately happened is that in some ways the Republicans turned [the election] into a referendum on the president. Democrats nationally are part of his record nationally. But [Obama] is the best at articulating and defending his record. I think he would have been a useful asset in a lot of places.”