Incumbent Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari held his annual Christmas party tonight and both Jersey City Mayor Jerry Healy and downtown City Councilman Steve Fulop partook of the love in the room.
Running for re-election, Schillari exulted in the presence of the county’s two fiercest rivals, set to square off in a May nonpartisan election a month before the Democratic Primary.
“I was an early supporter of Frank’s,” Fulop explained, “the first other than (state Sen. Nick) Sacco in Hudson.”
Fulop and Healy were on opposing sides during Schillari’s first election, which split the HCDO between incumbent Juan Perez and the challenger.
Roughly, South Hudson supported Perez and North Hudson backed Schillari.
Fulop’s backing of the Sacco-championed Schillari helped propel the candidate past Perez to secure the coveted Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) line.
It also may be the reason why Sacco told PolitickerNJ.com he plans to stay out of the Jersey City mayor’s race.
“Do they really care what someone whose district no longer includes Jersey City has to say about the Jersey City mayor’s race?” he said two weeks ago in Trenton.
A source spotted Fulop glued to Sacco through a long stretch of Schillari’s party, hardly the visual image likely to cause Sacco’s arch-enemy, state Sen. Brian P. Stack (D-33), to embrace Fulop’s mayoral candidacy.
“Impatience,” one Hudson source said in explanation of Fulop’s comfort level in the HCDO room. “Impatience with Brian Stack.”
But another source said Fulop is simply more focused on being the mayor of Jersey City than going to war against the HCDO with the Union City Democratic Party renegade.
“It was a very good night for Schillari to have both Healy and Fulop there,” said Democratic Party operative and Sacco spokesman Paul Swibinski. “He’s supported apparently by everyone in Hudson except Brian P. Stack.”
No one would say who is running against Schillari.
At war with the HCDO after walking back his endorsement of Healy, Assemblyman Sean Connors (D-31) was once thought to be a possibility, but the detective-legislator now appears to be in political no man’s land.
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"You know what? I'm still Vinny Prieto. I'm still the same guy. This is always a great event — to see people, to talk about business, to hear about issues and concerns." - Assembly Speaker Vinny Prieto (D-32).- The Star-Ledger
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