Despite a very public feud last year, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop touted unity among local Democrats at his 42nd birthday party last night, stating that “the county’s stronger when we’re working together.”
Celebrating with a crowd of around 450 people at the Chandelier Restaurant in Bayonne, which included singing happy birthday and a cake bearing the City of Jersey City emblem, Fulop kept the program short and sweet – simply thanking everyone for their continued support.
Among the dozen or so who joined Fulop in the front of the room were Jersey City Democratic Organization Chair Barbara Stamato and Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise.
While DeGise’s presence wasn’t completely unexpected, given that Fulop backed her picks for Assembly, county sheriff, surrogate and executive, respectively, earlier this week, it was a far cry from the infighting that was taking place just under a year ago.
Back then, Fulop and state Senator (D-33) Union City Mayor Brian Stack told County Executive Tom DeGise, Amy’s father, that they wouldn’t be supporting him for another term and that Stack would be running for HCDO chair.
When that didn’t work out as planned, with DeGise besting Stack in the June vote to succeed Vincent Prieto, bad blood continued to linger for the better part of 2018.
However, based on Fulop’s demeanor and remarks last night, it appears that both sides are finally willing to let bygones be bygones.
“Over the last couple months, we’ve spent a lot of time together, meeting, talking, governmentally, politically – it’s not something that goes reported – it’s just relationship building,” the mayor explained in a one-on-one interview.
“We found a lot of common ground and I feel pretty good about where we are today, I’m excited about what the party’s actually doing – their energizing more caucuses and committee people and I feel good about where we’re going. The county’s stronger when we’re working together and that’s where we are.”
On the national level, Fulop was arguably the highest level New Jersey Democrat who did not join the over 50 officials across the Garden State who endorsed U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) for president.
When HCV asked who he was considering backing to defeat President Donald Trump (R) in 2020, Fulop said he is waiting for the field to fully unfold before making any kind of endorsement.
“I want to see what the field looks like and then I want to get involved early, support financially, in a meaningful way, the candidate that I think is ultimately gonna be the nominee and then the next president,” he explained.
“The number 1 priority is really beating Donald Trump and I don’t view, just because you’re from New Jersey, as the number 1 driver on why you should endorse somebody. Cory’s done a great job as a senator, but to me, the most important thing in today’s environment is changing the president and I want to make sure I get involved early and in a meaningful way to do that.”
Other dignitaries in attendance included Assembly member Nick Chiaravalloti, Angela McKnight (both LD-31) and Raj Mukherji (D-33), Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2), former state Senate Majority Leader Bernie Kenny, Tom DeGise’s Chief of Staff Craig Guy, North Bergen political operative, Joey Muniz, ex-JCDO Chair Shawn “Sully” Thomas Sullivan, among many others.