TRENTON – In the face of a potential looming primary challenge in 2015, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29) seemed nonplussed on Thursday on the Assembly chamber floor in Trenton and looked to focus on her job.
“I feel fine because that’s not something I’m concentrating on right now. I’m trying to pass some good legislation and serve the needs of my community and my state,” said Pintor Marin, 34, of Newark, who has served in the Assembly since 2013. “We’re going to have another budget battle, and the state is not in very good [fiscal] standing. There is a lot of work to do.”
Sources have told PolitickerNJ that increased fundraising efforts by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and his allies indicate that a primary fight might be looming in LD 29 against Pintor Marin and L. Grace Spencer. The Democratic LD 29 assemblywomen would reportedly be challenged by Alturrick Kenney and Patrick Council, sources stated.
A looming LD 29 fight would highlight the struggle for Essex County dominance between Democrats Baraka and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
DiVincenzo backs the reelection of Spencer and Pintor Marin, and sources have told PolitickerNJ that Essex County Democratic Party Chairman LeRoy Jones is inclined to stick with the LD 29 incumbents because Baraka already has steady allies in the other state legislative district that includes parts of Newark, Legislative District 28.
The LD 28 Assembly duo, Democrats Ralph Caputo and Cleopatra Tucker, backed Baraka early in the 2014 Newark mayoral race, and both reportedly remain acceptable to Jones.
Next year’s Assembly races could also be a moment of both settling old scores and looking to the future for Baraka. Pintor Marin supported Baraka’s rival, Shavar Jeffries, in last year’s mayoral contest. Spencer, who was then Newark’s municipal prosecutor, stayed out of the mayoral battle.
Whatever moves Pintor Marin may have made in the past, she said she was ready for whatever comes next year.
“In my arsenal, I have my record. I was committed when I was a school board member 1,000 percent,” said Pintor Marin, referring to her time on the Newark school advisory board from 2008 until earlier this year. “I’ve demonstrated how to work with a lot of different types of people in challenging times. As a first-year legislator, I’m trying to pave my own way and concentrate on what’s going to benefit my district. As we get closer [to the 2015 election], we’ll have to see where we all stand.”