Organizers of the event said at least 736 tickets were sold. Guests made a minimum campaign donation of $20 to attend the event.
Current Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has not formally announced whether he plans to seek reelection, but some political observers believe the incumbent will run for a third term in 2013. Board of EdState Sen. Sandra Cunningham, wife of late Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham, has also been mentioned as a possible 2013 mayoral candidate.
“It’s going to be a tough road for the next year-and-a-half. But think about what we’ve accomplished in a very short period of time,” Fulop told supporters, before listing policy and education changes that his supporters have helped implement over the last two years. “We made that happen. This is a team of like-minded, goal-oriented smart people who believe that Jersey City can be a terrific, wonderful place to live, one of the best in this country. The key word here is ‘us.’ It’s not you. It’s not you. It’s not you. And it certainly isn’t me. It really is us.”
State Sen. Nicholas Sacco attended Tuesday’s affair to lend his support, as did Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr.
“What’s important about Sen. Sacco being here tonight is the fact that, when you see something going on in Jersey City, they way it’s going on today with what we’re building, more often than not it’s the politicians who have been here for a while who push back,” said Fulop. “But Sen. Sacco is the fist one to embrace it and say this is a good thing for Jersey City.”
Bill O’Dea, chairman of the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and at least three of Fulop’s colleagues on the Jersey City Council – David Donnelly, Nidia Lopez, and Viola Richardson – also made appearances at the soiree. Board of Education trustees Carol Lester, Marvin Adames, and Sue Mack – all of whom Fulop endorsed in their elections – were also in attendance.
But the event was largely attended by residents who believe Fulop can win the next mayoral race and restore fiscal responsibility to the city.
“I’ve supported Fulop since I moved here in 2000,” said Ward E resident Kathleen O’Malley Tuesday. “I really like that he’s trying to break the mold of Jersey City government that has been around forever. Steve is very smart. He’s a fresh voice and he’s very genuine. As a voter, ‘smart and caring’ is a good combination for me. I’m going to do everything I can to help him win.”
Other residents echoed these comments.
“I think he’d be a great mayor. I’ve known him since he first got on the council,” said Ward A resident Robert Napiorski, who also attended the fundraiser. “He has new ideas, which have been lacking severely. There hasn’t been much new blood in this city for a while. It’s the same old guard that’s been running everything. I think he stands a great chance of winning. I’d be shocked if he didn’t win.”
One lingering question of the Fulop campaign is whether the candidate, who represents the city’s downtown Ward E, can translate his popularity beyond his traditional base of support, which largely includes yuppies on the waterfront.
However, Fulop said Tuesday that he has already made inroads in other parts of the city. He specifically pointed to election results in the 2010 and 2011 Board of Education races, in which slates he supported swept to victory both years, and the more recent Jersey City Democratic Committee election. Again, Fulop-backed candidates won races, including Freeholder Jeff Dublin, who was selected as chairman of the Jersey City Democratic Committee.
“We have teams [of supporters] working in every single ward right now. We have made a concerted effort to reach out to the other wards,” Fulop told the Reporter. “We had three ‘meet-and-greets’ last week in wards A and F. If you look at the results of the committee election, outside of Ward E, more than half of the committee seats that we challenged, we beat way off the line. From a constituent services standpoint, we service a lot of constituents outside of Ward E. People underestimate us, and that’s okay.” – E. Assata Wright