Essex and one key Middlesex Democrat crammed into the same room tonight had insiders gabbing about “marriage” between Kevin McCabe and LeRoy Jones.
If that was true, it brought to mind Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, for Essex and Middlesex have been married before, or had to cut the cake together in political times past to make Craig Coughlin happen as speaker.
Now, apparently, they’re lovey dovey in public – not that they ever noticeably had a raucous falling out.
Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo even got in on the act, speaking emotionally about McCabe at the head of the room in Nanina’s in the Park.
This was a cocktail reception sponsored by Jones – chair of the Essex County Democratic Committee and chair of the New Jersey Democratic Party – and his vice chair, state Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29).
McCabe rolled in, as he did back when Middlesex backed Jones for chair and South Jersey sat on its hands, shortly before it imploded, maybe for keeps – at least as a daunting repository for Labor Democrats.
They embraced, Jones and McCabe. A warm feeling pervaded among friends.
Jones and Ruiz raised $150K.
McCabe patrolled the carpet, an illustrious guest among guests.
Those others in attendance included U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5), Somerset County Democratic Committee Chair Peg Schaffer, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29), Ruiz, all the Essex mayors and the delegation.
It felt like family, a source noted.
Only insofar as Jones has to keep on Middlesex as the dominos begin dropping (probably sooner rather than later) on state leadership positions, and McCabe’s somewhat closer (than comfort?) relations with North Hudson. But Jones is letting his fin ride above those waters too, and again, himself has a record of backing McCabe (the Edison mayor’s contest comes to mind), even as McCabe continues to back him.