When U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) wrote a March letter to banker Saily Avelenda’s boss, an avid donor to the venerable Congressman, and (in a personalized addition) noted her activities as a “ring leader” in the local progressive movement, he did more than simply reveal his own quasi-shaky hand hold on power – he gave birth to Avelenda’s presence on the InsiderNJ 100 Power.
“It is a little scary that he would do that,” the ex-senior vice president at Lakeland Bank told The Washington Post in the aftermath of NPR’s initial report on the matter. “I think the whole point of this was to intimidate me and to intimidate the group.”
Little nuggets like Avelanda and what she means to the progressive, anti-Trump movement will come to a head next year, when Frelinghuysen faces reelection. Will story lines like hers and others boost a Democratic nominee past the veteran in a gerrymandered, GOP district?
In the meantime, welcome to the InsiderNJ 100 Power, where we rank all the most muscular players in New Jersey politics across a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines. Just as the Frelinghuysen-Avelenda narrative highlighted a going political plotline, we looked for other themes and trends in the development of this year’s list. An obvious big one includes the consequences of a gubernatorial election year – specifically the end of the Christie era and dawning of the era of Phil Murphy. The InsiderNJ 100 Power list also reflects a shift in the legislature from the leadership tenure of Speaker Vincent Prieto to his successor, Assemblyman Craig Coughlin…
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