It would be the perfect Bayonne payback story.
Tossed off the line in his hometown in a bruising backroom war with the mayor, Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) looked like a fair bet to run next year against the man locals finger for dumping their long-serving lawmaker: incumbent Mayor Jimmy Davis.
In a show of local strong-arming, Davis earlier this year selected William Sampson IV, a longshoreman and crane operator, to replace Chiaravalloti on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line in the June 8th primary.
Political people want revenge in this blue collar peninsula city once chopped into recognizable ethnic neighborhoods now sprinkled with waterfront development and bursting with new populations and increasingly bigger than just blue collar aspirations.
An intellectual – if there is such a thing in New Jersey politics – reared on the political knee of former Mayor (and former Speaker) Joe Doria – Chiravalloti ran afoul of Davis amid mutterings of disrespect.
Supposedly the assemblyman didn’t mind Davis appearing with oversized shears for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies but didn’t want him involved in anything substantive, while the mayor thought Chiravalloti horned in on one too many deals and once too often gave him the high hat.
Davis too suspected Chiaravalloti of plotting against him with Bayonne Council President Sharon Ashe-
Sources expect Ashe-Nadrowski to run against Davis in 2022.
She may not have a choice.
And Davis may not have a choice, if others, or at least one other have the expectation of running on his ticket next year in place of the councilwoman.
She is well-positioned to do damage against Davis.
By dissing Chiaravalloti, the mayor may have won a political showdown not just with Nadrowski, but with the former Menendez State director’s friends in high places.
If there were ever any doubts about the assemblyman’s pull, the punishment factor kicked came into view last week in what figures to be a continuing seesaw of wills.
From the Jersey Journal:
“As New Jersey’s $46.4 billion budget came together, $500,000 was tucked away for Bayonne to complete a portion of its Hackensack River waterfront walkway.
“Then, before the document went to the governor’s office for a final signature, the item, worth one-one-thousandth (.001) % of the budget, was quietly removed.
“The reason, a statehouse source said, was a matter of petty politics.
“It was a jab at Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, the source said, for ousting Assemblyman and Majority Whip Nicholas Chiaravalloti by running a newcomer, William B. Sampson IV, on the county’s Democratic ticket.”
As part of the brawl, Davis hit the eject button on the vice-chair of the local party, Erica Daughtrey, a fierce Menendez and Chiaravalloti ally who works for U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8).
Maybe these elbows and counter elbows represented just the beginning of what will be Hudson County’s transition to purely local politics, courtesy of Bayonne, in time for next year’s mayoral election, with Davis in the line of sight.
The mayor’s allies say the real people of Bayonne don’t give a damn about the hurt feelings of a few mangled insiders.
His opponents will have to untangle themselves at the very least.
Nadrowski may not be Davis’ only challenger.
To be clear, it won’t be Chiaravalloti stepping forward.
He’s a policy guy not a manhole cover aficionado.
But there may be a Bayonne businessman or fed-up local connected to the circle who won’t be able to resist jumping into the maelstrom before filing day next year, and presumably he (or she) would have to figure out the terrain with Nadrowski to reach the shared goal of getting rid of the incumbent.