BAYONNE – Two sources close to Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis who requested anonymity told PolitickerNJ that Davis would announce his preferred candidate for the 31st Legislative District state Assembly seat in 2015 in January.
“Don’t forget – Jimmy used to be a police officer. He has a very buttoned-up style,” one source told PolitickerNJ on Monday about Davis’ choice, which he originally indicated would have been made public at the end of last month. “He wants to get this right.”
The mayor of Bayonne traditionally plays the lead role in selecting one of the Assembly members from the 31st LD, which includes all of Bayonne and parts of Jersey City. During the 2014 Bayonne mayoral race, the two incumbent assemblymen, Democrats Charles Mainor and Jason O’Donnell, both backed then-incumbent Mayor Mark Smith, who was defeated by Davis in a June runoff. O’Donnell, an Assemblyman since 2010 and Bayonne firefighter who served as Bayonne’ public safety director in the Smith administration, also served as campaign manager for Smith.
Among the names floated as a potential challenger to O’Donnell in a potential 2015 primary fight is Nicholas Chiaravalloti, an attorney from Bayonne who served as state director for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) before resigning in 2007 to focus on an unsuccessful bid for the 31st LD Assembly seat. Chiaravalloti is the executive director of the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peter’s University.
Ironically, O’Donnell served as campaign manager for Chairavalotti during his ill-fated 2007 state Assembly run. In contrast, sources have told PolitickerNJ that Chiaravalloti played a critical behind-the-scenes role during the Davis campaign, and he was a visible presence in the Davis camp on the day of the June runoff election.
O’Donnell, a potential 2018 Bayonne mayoral candidate, and Chairavalotti have both declined comment about the LD 31 situation.
The source told PolitickerNJ that Davis’ seeming hesitation about his LD 31 announcement was not just about the Bayonne mayor’s style, but about substance.
“Before Jimmy does something, he wants to look people in the eye, shake hands, and then know that’s it,” the source said. “That’s the way he beat Mark Smith, and that’s the way he wants to keep going.”