Former Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason hosted a small private event at her Mile Square City home last night for the New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow super PAC, an organization associated with state Senate President Steve Sweeney’s (D-3) expected 2017 gubernatorial run.
“Senator Sweeney and I have known each other for a while and I believe in the same things he does. And this organization is all about things like minimum wage, preserving the Transportation Trust Fund, making that New Jersey is actually making itself [prepared] for a better tomorrow,” Mason told Hudson County View.
Mason, who also runs the Mason Civic League (a local non-profit), has been a generous donor for Democrats around the state for several years, making a $500 donation to then-Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop back in 2009 – according to ELEC.
Since then though, their relationship has soured (Mason and her husband Ricky both donated to ex-Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy’s re-election campaign in 2013) and she has since developed a cozy relationship with Sweeney.
He and Fulop are expected to announce their candidacy for Democratic gubernatorial primary next June, but for now, only former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy has declared.
“We actually have quite a number of challenges, especially in our economic situation. So I’m here, obviously to support that effort and looking to many more down the road,” Mason added.
“This is about working on specific issues and really making New Jersey have a plan to move forward. And I’ve been doing that for a long time, I’ve been doing that for all my career. And we have a lot to accomplish for us to start now and make sure we’re going in a positive direction.”
According to their April 15, 2016 filing with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC), New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow has raised $1,532,900.27 since their inception just over a year ago: May 5, 2015.
Based on an NJBT report filed with ELEC in January, Mason contributed a hefty $40,000 to the cause.
Sean Kennedy, a former senior advisor to Sweeney, is the president and founder of the super PAC.
On their official website, NJBT takes a shot at current Republican Gov. Chris Christie when discussing next year’s pivotal statewide race.
“New Jerseyans for a Better Tomorrow is a crucial component for turning back the anti-worker, anti-senior and anti-family tide sweeping across the country,” they wrote.
“NJBT will plan & execute aggressive persuasion and turnout programs to ensure Democratic voters are positioned to create a better tomorrow by turning the page on the Christie administration and electing a strong leader who will put middle-class residents, hard working men and women, seniors & families of NJ first.”
In contrast, the Coalition for Progress, a super PAC linked to Fulop, has raised $3,527,869.15 cents since July 1, 2015.
Only Hudson County View reported last month that some of those who have contributed to the cause this year have ties to Jersey City.
Coalition for Progress also received heavy scrutiny back in February for accepting an essentially anonymous $1 million donation from DE First Holdings late last year, a Wilmington, D.E.-based corporation that has almost no other identifying information attached to it.
While Fulop has not acknowledged if the super PAC will support a potential gubernatorial bid, he has previously admitted hosting a fundraiser for them and Scarinci Hollenbeck managing partner Donald Scarinci has said the initial monies raised for the entity proves Fulop will be the next governor.
Few household name politicos were spotted in attendance at Mason’s event, but state Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-37), former Jersey City Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis (a rumored Jersey City mayoral candidate for 2017) and former North Bergen mayoral hopeful Larry Wainstein all made appearances at the function.