State Senate President (D-3) Steve Sweeney teamed up with former Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason for a post-election celebration at the League of Municipalities in Atlantic City.
“It’s wonderful to see so many friends here and I can’t thank Beth [enough] for all that she’s done for me, she’s a really great friend and we’ve worked together for the right reasons and we will continue to,” Sweeney told Hudson County View outside The Irish Pub.
About 300 people passed through the bar for a congratulatory drink with Sweeney, who survived an onslaught from the New Jersey Education Association-backed Republican candidate Fran Grenier on Election Day.
The race, which the incumbent won by about 9,000 votes, was the most expensive in legislative race in New Jersey history: with over $16 million spent as of October 27th, with the final price tag expected to reach nearly $20 million (h/t NJ Advance Media).
Sweeney said that he does not see his feud with the NJEA ending any time soon, noting that he fully supports the American Federation of Teachers moving forward.
“Well the relationship going forward will be with the AFT: the American Federation of Teachers because they’re a progressive group of leaders that are willing to look outside the box and are willing to accept change – not just for the sake of change – but change to improve education, change to make things better for kids,” he stated.
Sweeney and the NJEA had a falling out last year after he reneged on a commitment to put a constitutional amendment to the public pension fund on the ballot and have been at war ever since.
Mason, who helped raise funds for a pro-Sweeney super PAC last year when it appeared he would seek the Democratic nomination for governor, said she backed Sweeney since he is the best man for the job.
“I think Senator Sweeney is very, very good at bringing people together and making sure that we’re going in a very positive direction,” said Mason, who opted not to seek re-election to the Hoboken council in 2015.
Mason wasn’t the only Hudson County politico who aided Sweeney in the high stakes Senate contest: state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack took his renowned ground game to Gloucester County to campaign for the Senate president last month.
The event brought together an interesting group of politicos including Assembly Speaker-elect Craig Coughlin (D-19), state Senator-elect Vin Gopal (D-11), Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), former Jersey City Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis, among many others.