As gov talk heats up, Fulop packs out Jersey City’s Raval for mayoral re-election event

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As talk of the 2017 governor’s race heats up, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop packed out the Raval restaurant on Tuesday night for a mayoral re-election fundraiser. Fulop - Raval

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

While many believe it’s a forgone conclusion that Fulop will throw his name in the ring for next year’s gubernatorial Democratic primary, the Hudson County playmaker said earlier this week that he’s “not actively running for governor” and won’t be making that call until December.

Just in case anyone is still in a state of utter disbelief, guests were advised to make their check contributions out to “Steven Fulop for Mayor 2017.”

The social media savvy mayor hosted his first fundraiser of 2016 at the Raval, a tapas restaurant and lounge located on Newark Avenue, where he predictably enjoyed a ton of local support from activists, business owners and, of course, politicos alike.

The event was hosted in the midst of whispers that some Hudson County Democratic Organization power brokers would prefer to see Fulop run in the 2016 Democratic primary for Congress against none other than U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8).

While that idea has, at a minimum, been floated, multiple sources say that regular trips to Washington D.C. aren’t in Fulop’s plans – not for anytime soon at least.

Officials who arrived early to beat the crowd included Jersey City Ward F Councilwoman Diane Coleman, Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman, Ward E Councilwoman Candice Osborne and committeewoman Denise Ridley – who just under a year ago certainly wasn’t a Fulop fan.

In the midst of a successful series of community meetings dedicated to each ward (although Wednesday’s Ward A edition had some tense moments), some attendees practically stood in line, patiently waiting for a few select moments to bend the mayor’s ear.

Eventually opening up the venue basement to accommodate the 150 to 200 or so guests, the downstairs area quickly turned into the place to be for everyone who wanted to talk political brass tacks.

Those who spent extended time on the bottom floor included Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), Jersey City Ward B Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, Assemblyman Raj Mukjerji (D-33) and Hoboken Housing Authority Chairwoman Dana Wefer.

Also spotted making the rounds were Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) and Hoboken Democratic Party Secretary Joe Branco.

Furthermore, with no formal program or speeches, Fulop and his guests were free to relax, drink and schmooze at their leisure throughout the course of the evening.

According to a January 20th report filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), Fulop has raised a whopping $258,162.08 for his 2017 mayoral bid.

However, bear in mind the former councilman could seek both local and statewide office in 2017 if a binding referendum in November moves Jersey City municipal elections from May to November – effective next year.

Others in attendance included North Bergen Commissioner Julio Marenco, Jersey City Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera, Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro and Jersey City Committeemen Eric Fleming and John Lynch – who helped organize the event.

Raval fundraiser