Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) made a tour of Northern New Jersey yesterday on MLK Day, a swing by the South Jersey gubernatorial hopeful that included an appearance in Hudson County, home to his prospective 2017 rival, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
The mood in the room in Bayonne, a Hudson pol gloomily related to PolitickerNJ was “awkward” a week after Sweeney rammed his version of a North Jersey casino bill through the wall of an alternative proposal put forth by the Hudson tag team of Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Fulop.
“He [Sweeney] was well received,” the pol noted of the room in the Chandelier crammed with Hudson political driftwood and recognizable Democratic Party brand names, including U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8), and Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis.
But there was back chatter, of course, as theater-conscious pols gingerly tried to avoid getting relegated to prop land: i.e. being the grinning or raucously laughing local Hudson County Democratic Organization guy who winds up alone in the Jersey Journal photo with Sweeney.
There was definitely some polite musical chairs going on, said the source, with the theme song of politics keeping everyone moving lest they end up in Sweeney’s arms as murmurs of a vexed – or at least fiercely competitive – Fulop gnawed at the room.
Fulop naturally wasn’t in attendance.
Senator Sandy Cunningham (D-31) – not known for being the biggest Fulop fan – was evidently the party responsible for putting Sweeney in the backyard of his Hudson rival – ye another indication of the South Jerseyan’s leveraging power as senate president. He has North Jersey allies comfortable with his leadership of the senate, who don’t mind lending him a local footprint.
According to the Journal, Sweeney used the occasion to glue himself to Davis:
“State Senate President Stephen Sweeney and city Mayor Jimmy Davis today blasted the citizens of the city who have embarked on a campaign to stop a Muslim community center from being built.”
Take a look at the whole piece here.