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The Essex County Democratic establishment gave a hard, ongoing look at incumbent Freeholder Leonard Luciano this week as it mulls over whether to back him again.
Calls circulated on the subject.
A source told InsiderNJ that Bloomfield Fire Chief Lou Venezia of West Caldwell (brother of Bloomfield Mayor Mike Venezia) would be the most likely replacement in the event Democrats move ahead with the switch.
A source said there was some hemming and hawing internally. “I think there’s some sense of feeling bad for the guy,” the source told InsiderNJ.
Would that attitude prevail in time to save him?
“I don’t know,” the source admitted, saying it’s not quite a done deal.
Another source noted that veteran Essex County Freeholder Rufus Johnson, who was originally expected not to run for reelection this year, in fact wants to pursue another term.
Johnson made his intentions known to party leaders last week, and, if he runs again, will have the support of the establishment.
“Ruf def running again,” the source said.
“I’m going to go,” Johnson told InsiderNJ.
As for Luciano, “I know for a fact he’s circulating petitions,” another source insisted. “Don’t think he would be doing that if he hadn’t been given the nod.”