Passaic County Democratic Chairman (and Democratic State Chairman) John Currie and Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres sat down this week over dinner to discuss their relationship going forward, affirming an alliance a year after a collision between the two men during the 2014 mayoral election.
“This is the meeting that should have happened after the election that never did,” a source told PolitickerNJ.
Despite the party’s attempts to defeat him last year, Torres told Currie over dinner said he’s a Democrat and wants to help. He won’t be quietly providing assistance to Republicans, he insisted. According to sources, Torres told the state party chairman with Paterson roots that he can work as an Hispanic surrogate as Currie sees fit anywhere in the state. The mayor burnished the northern alliance he has with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
Torres reminded Currie that a mayor-backed local recreation referendum will help turn out the urban vote in a low turnout election and help the countywide Democratic ticket.
The two men didn’t spend a lot of time on a discussion about municipal races, but Torres clearly has an interest in wards five and six next year. He is particularly interested in six, where he wants to help retire the man who opposed him with the help of the party in 2014; Councilman Andre Sayegh.
Two days after the meeting between Currie and Torres, teacher Al Abdel-azziz – a longtime Currie ally – last night officially announced his intention to run for the Ward 6 seat currently occupied by Sayegh. A source with knowledge of the Currie-Torres meeting said the mayor wants Currie to either stay out of the contest next year, or provide Abdel-azziz with at least the same level of assistance to get rid of Sayegh in 2016 that the party provided in Sayegh’s support in 2014.