Jersey City Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2) saw an enormous show of support at a Liberty House fundraiser preparing for 2017.
Hundreds, perhaps approaching close to 1,000, people came out to support O’Dea, a former two-term city councilman and freeholder since 1997, for his 2017 campaign.
While he could theoretically cruise to another term on the board of chosen freeholders next year, he is a leading pick for Jersey City mayor.
Emerging from the hundreds of community members and dozens of politicos in attendance were former Gov. Jim McGreevey (D), now the head of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program, and state Senator/Union City Mayor Brian Stack (D-33).
Neither are particularly well-known for grabbing a microphone at fundraisers, which Stack typically steers clear from all together, but both made exceptions for O’Dea.
“It’s great to be here tonight. I wanted to stop down for my old friend, Bill O’Dea. I know that Bill has been a great public servant here in Jersey City and many good things to come – and I wouldn’t have missed this tonight,” said Stack.
“I don’t come to many fundraisers, but for Bill O’Dea, I’ll be there.”
When we asked the veteran Hudson official what his plans were for 2017, O’Dea said he’d love to lead Jersey City before calling it a career – but only if Mayor Steven Fulop successfully makes it to Drumthwacket (of course without ever mentioning Trenton or the fast approaching governor’s race).
“Until Steve Fulop announces he’s not running for mayor, I don’t think I should even have that discussion,” began O’Dea.
“But obviously, you know I love Jersey City and if ultimately the stars line up [and] that seems to be the opportunity, the community and people want to support me, Steve’s moved onto bigger and better things – that’s something that I am very, very strongly considering and I’d think I’d do a good job if I get an opportunity.”
In the event O’Dea seeks re-election for freeholder, he said he’d like to continue overseeing improvements in county parks, expanding the prisoner re-entry programs and working on getting construction workers into reputable unions as some of his countywide goals.
The long list of familiar faces on hand also included state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Anthony Romano (D-5), Caridad Rodriguez (D-7) and Anthony Vainieri (D-8), Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, former U.S. Sen. Bob Toricelli (D-NJ), ex-Jersey City Councilmen Phil Kenny and Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, former Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith – among many others.