The local war of political power projection is on in Jersey City, where city hall allies are back-rooming hard the advantages of Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) over Hudson County Freeholder Bill O’Dea a day after O’Dea’s astonishingly well-attended Liberty House fundraiser.
Both O’Dea and Mukherji are angling to succeed Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop next year, and both are well within comfortable ring-kissing proximity to the mayor.
Friendly allies on the surface, each is standing in the way of the other as next year’s contest accelerates.
While the downstairs room at Liberty House was crowded for O’Dea’s affair last night, a source among the attendees remarked that Mukherji’s event at the much larger upstairs section two months ago packed in more bodies.
“You couldn’t get a car into LIberty State Park, let alone the restaurant lot” for Mukherji’s affair, which had over 650 attendees and raised at least $134,652, according to his last ELEC report.
The faces not in the room at O’Dea’s fundraiser stood out more than those who attended, the source added. Mayor Steven Fulop offered pitter-patter hand-clap praise for O’Dea and only one councilmember (Ward B’s John Hallahan) and one ward leader, O’Dea acolyte Jonathan DeFilippo, showed up.
Other recognizable ward leaders and relevant operatives—types like Jersey City Democratic Organization Chairman Shawn “Suly” Thomas and Tommy Bertoli, must have had schedule conflicts.
By contrast, Mukherji’s event was attended by eight county Democratic chairs who will be essential to Fulop’s gubernatorial ascendancy, including the “Big Three” (Hudson’s own Prieto, Bergen’s Lou Stellato, and statewide and Passaic Dem Chair John Currie), five out of six JC ward leaders, a majority of the City Council, a U.S. Congressman, several mayors from within and outside of Hudson County, and over a dozen state lawmakers.