A bloody backroom war between the forces of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Jersey Mayor Steven Fulop resulted in what one Hudson source called the certain political guillotining of Freeholder Gerry Balmir.
“Disloyalty,” seethed one Hudson operative, “will not be tolerated.”
Sources said Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairman Vincent Prieto personally told Balmir he’s tantamount to toast, the consequence of the freeholder’s wife, longtime operative T. Missy Balmir, taking a job with Sweeney’s office.
Sweeney and Fulop are both running for governor in 2017. Insiders interpreted the Balmirs’ move as the equivalent of switching gubernatorial saddles in mid-stream.
The Balmirs, sources say, have longtime relationships with allies close to the senate president, but Fulop reached out – far – in Hudson for the husband and wife political team who moved to Jersey city from Trenton to get in the North Jersey political bloodstream.
PolitickerNJ contacted Fulop, who last year backed Balmir to get rid of entrenched incumbent Freeholder Jeff Dublin, a holdover from the Healy era in Jersey city.
It was not an easy lift to budge Dublin, but Fulop and his organization did it with Balmir as a favor to Ray Pocino and the powerful Laborers union, to which Balmir belongs.
“I have never met anyone who’s more disloyal or dishonest,” Fulop said of the freeholder. “What Balmir did is a major character flaw. I think anyone would have a hard time trusting him. At the end of the day I cant imagine anyone in any camp trusting the Balmirs. We have always done solid by them. Trust and relationships are big. You cant be driven by monetary gain. You have to have some character.”
A Hudson source said Balmir can look forward to a miserable tenure on the freeholder board for his duration in office, which likely won’t be long. “There are strong movements toward a recall,” said the source.
“He’s an ingrate,” added another North Jersey source. “He has never been spoon fed the way Steve Fulop spoon fed him. Steve went against Ward F for Gerry. Who the hell does that for a transplant? They want to be big players in a big pond, and they’re guppies. Gerry got too frickin’ big for his britches. You don’t get away with that in Hudson.”
An ally of the Balmirs said Missy Balmir – a respected party operative with deep relationships in the African-American community – made a decision and called “disloyalty” a terrible oversimplification. The same source said the person who has the problem is not the freeholder who got elected but the fledgling gubernatorial candidate.
“The person who has the problem is clearly the mayor who assumed support,” said the source. “Where else [if not in Jersey City] can he assume support?”