Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop straddled Hudson and Essex counties on Wednesday night, lending a voice to the projected alliance between Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Newark North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos at the latter’s fundraiser; then addressing the Hudson County Young Democrats at an energized event.
This was cakewalk political duty for Fulop, who last month began one day with meetings in Atlantic City, then did a Tick Tock Diner sit-down in Clifton, then darted down to Monmouth County for some Vin Gopal time, before springing back to Jersey City.
Compared to those political acrobatics, Wednesday night’s itinerary was hardly sweat-breaking work, while proving the value of Fulop’s proximity to power.
Baraka and Ramos flirted at Nanina’s, the two convincing a roomful of insiders that they love each other. These were two guys who appeared to hate each other in 2014, fierce rivals who appeared headed for a major collision come Election Day before county Democrats yanked Ramos and put all their resources beyond Shavar Jeffries in a futile attempt to stop Baraka.
Last night it was all sweetness and light as Ramos raised $50,000 amid the usual luminaries: Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones, state Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and Phil Alagia, chief of staff to Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
Fulop offered his own human glue narrative. He was once close enough to Ramos to co-host events with the Newarker during the League of Municipalities. Then he became the most visible backer of Baraka among elected officials in a daring move to beat Essex County Democrats.
Now, as Fulop seeks the 2017 nomination for governor and daily labors to cultivate relations in DiVIncenzo and Jones world, everyone was together again, the local motif of Baraka-Ramos serving as a reminder of Newark political potency.
Doubling down on the power message, Fulop pivoted to his home county after Nanina’s in the Park, heading back to Jersey City, where the Hudson County Young Democrats held their first ever Happy Hour event. Over 100 new members attended, as well as supporters from Essex, Bergen and Morris counties. When Fulop walked in, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) was in the middle of a stem-winder. Also in attendance: West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, North Bergen Commissioner Julio Marenco, Hoboken Councilman-elect Mike DeFusco, Fulop Chief of Staff Mark Albiez, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Deputy Chief of Staff Craig Guy, Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36) Chief of Staff Justin Braz, Assemblyman Joe Lagana (D-38) Deputy Chief of Staff Mike DeLamater and many staffers, operatives and young politicos.