At one point considered Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s toughest potential political opponent, Freeholder Bill O’Dea put those rumors to rest by endorsing the incumbent at a fundraiser last night.
“Remember when I endorsed you back in November of 2012, we couldn’t get this kind of crowd into the room,” O’Dea recalled at a Zeppelin Hall Biergarten fundraiser for Fulop last night – in front of a crowd of about 200 people.
“But I believed in you then, I believed in the vision you had for Jersey City, I believed in the energy you have and the hard-working ethic you have to make this city great. To make this city not one of the best mid-sized cities, the best mid-sized city in the United States and you are well on your way to getting it done.”
When it still appeared that Fulop would be a competitive Democratic candidate for governor, O’Dea was one of the most likely picks as his successor in City Hall, showcasing his strength with a massive fundraiser packed with politicos in August.
However, with Fulop endorsing Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy and announcing he would seek re-election in September, O’Dea’s mayoral candidacy became a question mark.
That is until last night, where the veteran Jersey City politician pointed to an increased commitment to public safety, stable taxes and diverse development throughout the city as clear cut indicators of Fulop’s success.
Fulop, who also thanked Council members Rolando Lavarro, Frank Gajewski, Jermaine Robinson and Daniel Rivera, as well as his wife Jackie, for their continued support, said he’s happy what the city has achieved under his watch – but there is still plenty more to do.
“Our work is not done. We have four years worth of work in order to make Jersey City what we know it can be. We’ve done a lot in the past four years and I think they’ve touched upon that,” Fulop began.
“The police department is the biggest its been in 20 years, the fire department is the biggest its been in 25 years, three credit rating upgrades, no new taxes for four years.”
Fulop has already notched key endorsements from key North Hudson power brokers state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack and County Executive Tom DeGise.
Others in attendance included state Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assembly members Angela McKnight and Nick Chiaravalloti (all D-31), Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Freeholders Anthony Romano (D-8) and E. Junior Maldonado (D-4), Freeholder candidate Jerry Walker, among many others.