Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy has a fan in Hudson County if he wants one: LD31 Assembly candidate Bruce Alston, who’s challenging the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) line backed by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.
Fulop, of course, is an incipient 2017 candidate for governor. So is Murphy. As long as Fulop – mayor of the biggest city in Hudson – runs for governor, Murpy can expect not to compete for the support of the HCDO. The question is whether he intends to play now to pickpocket support where he can, or decides simply to leave Hudson alone rather than antagonize.
Alston wants him to antagonize, and has been Facebook flirting with Murphy when he can to try to stir the attentions of the cash cow from Monmouth County.
Alston has another angle if he he could simply secure some financial support from Murphy. He’s counting on the hurt from last year’s mayoral contest to keep Bayonne divided. Having been turned out of office in 2014, no one would expect ousted Mayor Mark Smith and his faithful ward, Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-31), to come back with rip-roaring passion in favor of Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis’ own Bayonne bruiser, Nick Chiaravallotti, a former Bob Menendez state director.
Alston is banking on Bayonne cannibalizing itself so that he can bring out his base and ride Jersey City African American turnout into office along with HCDO standard-bearer Angela McKnight, also of Jersey City.
If he can get Murphy on his side, he thinks he can turn what for the HCDO is a low turnout, Bayonne-hampered election season to his favor.
Does he back Murphy for governor in 2017 over Fulop, PolitickerNJ asked the Jersey City businessman.
“Very possible,” Alston said. “He is actually displaying a vision, which is addressing the concerns that parents have for their children. No parent wants their children to have a job, they want them t have respectful careers, which can impact society.”
Has Murphy given any money to Alston’s cause?
“No,” said the renegade challenger. “Will I reach out and ask for him to join in the campaign? Absolutely. Just as I will ask any potential candidate for Governor to support my candidacy.”
Does that include Fulop?
“I enjoy a respectful relationship with the Mayor,” Alston said. “I consider him a friend. He has chosen to support candidates who he believes can identify with his agenda in Trenton and I would say politically also, will it stop me from working along with the Mayor, absolutely NOT. If anything a victory on June 2nd gives me the platform to state to the mayor and every other elected official in Hudson County that my platform of idealism is supported by the voters of the 31st District. which should be respected and considered in moving a progressive agenda of the Hudson Democratic party. I have shared with the mayor that I was the only candidate in this 31st district race who supported his candidacy and continues to support most of his agenda for the city.”
But if Murphy jumps in now and backs him will he forgo Fulop for Murphy in 2017?
“If the Ambassador supports my candidacy I think it speaks for itself, that he would have an ally in Hudson County who would be open to supporting him if he chooses to become a candidate for Governor,” Alston said.
Another thorny issue for Alston is that he’s not the only challenger in a crowded field of challengers. He knows it’s tough to beat the machine. He’s been there and hasn’t done that. Yet he insists he believes the establishment is nervous, and extremely about Chiravallotti.
Pat Desmond, a close ally of Davis, who ran Davis’ winning 2014 campaign, is running Alston’s campaign. he said.