U.S. Senator Bob Menendez was quite clear in exclaiming he is firmly supporting Bayonne Jimmy Davis’ re-election during a his campaign kickoff at the The Chandelier Restaurant last night.
“When Mayor Davis asked me to come, I said ‘I’m gonna clear the decks and I’m gonna be here tonight’ because leadership is found one person at a time and at one time, in a moment, Mayor Davis is that person in this moment to continue to lead Bayonne forward, said Menendez, who joked he has been busy lately and hasn’t been to many fundraisers.
The senior Senator is currently on federal trial for bribery and corruption charges, though it appears likely that the judge in the case is like to throw at least some of the 18 charges (h/t The New York Times).
As he has said in the past, Menendez also assured his supporters he would be exonerated before continuing to talk up Davis.
“I’m here for Mayor Davis because I know what he has done and what he can do for Bayonne. For years I brought millions of dollars, and Joe Doria can tell you, as a Congressman and later as a Senator to help make MOTBY an opportunity for the future. And that great opportunity, despite great efforts, were never truly realized.”
The MOTBY, short for the Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne, has recently began to be developed under the Davis administration, with JMF Properties winning a bid to develop 16 acres of Harbor Station South back in June 2016.
Given the circumstances, Menendez’s appearance wasn’t expected, but he has been an ally of Davis’ for years, being the man to swear him into office.
He also had an icy relationship with former Mayor Mark Smith, which many political insiders believe led to Davis toppling the incumbent three years ago.
When he took the podium, Davis spoke about community improvements, such as renovating the 8th Street and Dennis Collins Parks, making Broadway a thriving business destination again and how Bayonne is on the rise.
“Ladies and gentleman, Bayonne is on the move again. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York post have all written stories about Bayonne, saying we are the next boon. But let me tell you something: this isn’t about fixing the City of Bayonne today,” Davis began.
“It’s not about fixing the City of Bayonne tomorrow. This is about fixing it for today, for tomorrow and for 25 years down the road, that our kids can live here and not having to deal and worry about financial situations that our city has, that we’ve had for the last couple decades,” the mayor added with his young son Nicholas standing next to him.
While Davis appears poised to benefit from a ton of local establishment support, he will face a game challenger in retired firefighter Jason O’Donnell – an ex-Assemblyman and city public safety director under Smith.
O’Donnell kicked off his campaign on Wednesday night, coming out swinging at Davis and Business Administrator Joe DeMarco.
Dignitaries in attendance included state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti, Angela McKnight (both D-31) and Angelica Jimenez (D-32), Bayonne Council President Sharon Nadrowski, Councilmen Tom Cotter, Juan Perez, Sal Gullace and Gary La Pelusa, Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1) and Bill O’Dea (D-2), ex-Assembly Speaker/Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria, former Bayonne Councilman Ray Greaves, among many others.