Political insiders reacted with surprise earlier this month when Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones announced East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor’s plans to spend more time with his family rather than pursue reelection.
The noticeable belly laughs alone among attending rank and file EO city workers suggested that not everyone fully believed that Taylor simply wants to revisit his ping pong backhand in the family den.
Something more was afoot.
The mayor’s departure was a shocking development, really, when one considers Taylor’s scintillating presence in the Essex County Democratic Party constellation. But what it came down to, according to sources close to City Hall, was the mayor’s lack of support at all levels.
He didn’t have labor, which would have been a problem in a Democratic Primary. He didn’t have multiple party players, and he lacked ferocious allies in city hall. His wife, a source told InsiderNJ, had also not endeared herself to city workers on several occasions. When the mayor put her name forward at one point as a possible state senate candidate, establishment diehards expressed dismay.
Finally and in a word, Lester Taylor didn’t have adequate relationships to go into reelection combat mode, and consequently gave the party organizations jitters.