WINNERS and LOSERS: The Jersey City Edition

Jersey City was the main winner last night.

The whole state watched as a trough of political animals went ballistic on one another, then finished the night as gentlemen.

Along the way, hard-edged Hudson County types and out-of-towners turned residents alike marveled at the way the people here played the American political game.

As they say on the other side of the Hackensack, when the history of world politics is written, a chapter will belong to Hudson.

…And a paragraph will belong to the mayor’s election of 2013…

WINNERS

Steve Fulop

The Jersey City establishment told the kid he wasn’t from there, so he couldn’t possibly understand. But while some of the so-called tough guys around city hall tried to intimidate the challenger, ex-Marine and long-serving Downtown Councilman Fulop surgically carved out a win. During the campaign, his opponents would attempt to brand him as a Republican – and there was GOP money to support some of the claims about Fulop’s ties. But the mayor-elect also arrived in local politics as a prodigy of the late Mayor Glen Cunningham, never a favorite of the existing Democratic Party establishment.  

Tommy Bertoli

Through all of Fulop’s victories, the roughneck field operative was the Hudson County constant at the kid’s side, plotting new ways to find Fulop voters and get them to the polls. Bertoli’s blackboard stood at the ready in Zeppelin’s last night, but as it turned out the chalk stayed in the pack, as Bertoli never needed to go through his campaign ritual of writing down the numbers as Fulop partisans cheered. The margin of victory was too big.  

John Graham

Hillary Clinton’s biggest New Jersey supporter was the prime Democratic Party establishment mover behind Steve Fulop’s candidacy. Graham’s political star dimmed as the Obama era blotted out Clinton’s 2008 chances, but the North Jersey power player regenerated behind the next mayor of Jersey City.

Joe DiVincenzo

The powerful Essex County Executive threw in with Fulop behind the scenes early, as gratitude for Fulop’s help last year in electing U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10). Payne embraced Fulop publicly, while DiVincenzo threw in some late cash to help the Fulop cause. Also with the mayor-elect from the beginning was Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, a regular at all of Fulop’s functions.

The DeCotiis Law Firm

The powerful family firm was in the backrooms in Fulop’s corner throughout the contest – and today, as the winning mayor-elect eyed the transition phase of his campaign.

Kevin O’Toole

Heading into the final leg of the campaign season, the 40th District state senator contributed $25,000 to Fulop. O’Toole’s gift gives him a place at the power player table around the new Jersey City mayor, an enviable spot for the only Republican elected official to put his own name behind the Fulop cause.

Bruno Tedeschi

The former Star-Ledger editor proved a cool and intelligent voice for the Fulop campaign. His connections at the paper also arguably helped give Fulop a leg up on endorsements and coverage.

Thom Ammirato

The longtime Passaic/Bergen County GOP operative picked up a big win last night as his change ticket swept into office in Hackensack on a wave of anti-Zisa feeling.

Troy Singleton

The Burlington County assemblyman – along with confidant Trish Mueller – led a contingent of carpenters to Jersey City to help successfully get out the vote for Steve Fulop.  

Alex Blanco

The mayor of Passaic City won a second full term easily on Tuesday night, reaffirming his political alliance with Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36).

David Tepper

The billionaire backer of Better Education for New Jersey Kids forked money into Fulop and stands to see some gratitude in the way of a Jersey City school system overhaul – anathema to public teachers and Dr. Charles Epps, the former schools superintendent dumped by Fulop who reanimated himself as a Healy council candidate headed for a June runoff.

LOSERS

Jerry Healy

Backed against the wall, the 12-year veteran mayor threw some uppercuts in an attempt to get re-elected, and even brought in the soothing, sonorous tones of President Barack Obama, but all politics is local, as a wise man once said, and the mayor couldn’t get around the Election Day encumbrances created by his own administration.    

Mark Smith

Everyone likes the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) chairman, but he also keeps losing elections. Maybe that’s also probably why he’ll stick around. He’s liked, but outside of Bayonne, not powerful. That means North Hudson bosses Brian P. Stack and Nick Sacco can continue to beat each other’s heads in politically without having to worry about a third party clubbing either one of them. Or at least they won’t have to worry about Smith. Fulop? That might be another story.

Tom DeGise

Newly married, Hudson County’s avuncular county executive hardly looks like he’ll be donning the war bonnet anytime soon. Healy’s loss last night probably means you’ll see DeGise at a podium ahead of the 2015 county executive’s race declaring his desire to spend more time with family. He was clapping his hands at every Healy fundraiser, and after watching his good friend felled, he probably won’t want to endure his own awful kayo.  

Albio Sires

The affable 8th District congressman went all in with Healy, fork-lifting late cash into the incumbent’s coffers.  

Cory Booker

The political establishment in both parties warned the Newark mayor not to boost candidates enmeshed in the Ken Zisa mess in Hackensack, but New Jersey’s next senator shook off the worry warts and lent his dulcet tones to the Democrats – with disastrous results. Booker’s Bergen “change team” went belly up, robocall and all.  

Jose Sandoval

Let’s try to get the narrative straight. The guy was a Dem, then a Republican, then a Dem, then a Rep, then a Dem, then a… it’s a confusing narrative. What’s not confusing is Sandoval’s record in elections: 0-10, or something like that. We lost count. In any event, Blanco dubbed him last night. Again.

Steve Murphy

The political undercurrent in the Jersey City mayor’s race consisted of a media mano-a-mano between former Putnam and Murphy Media Group partners Mark Putnam and Steve Murphy. The two men co-helmed an outfit for 15 years and never faced each other until this campaign. The result? Putnam 1, Murphy 0.

"Let’s be clear, this was not a ‘humanitarian’ act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American."
—U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)