South Jersey Democratic boss George Norcross invited the “reconfigured power elite” of the state Democratic Party to dinner in Colts Neck last night, according to a report at PolitickerNJ.
Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal was not there; not invited to a high powered Democratic gathering in his county.
Also not present, gubernatorial nominee and head of the party in name only, State Senator Barbara Buono. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, not there. U.S. Senate nominee Cory Booker represented Essex County. Essex County Executive Joseph Divencenzo, who has endorsed Governor Chris Christie for reelection, was not invited.
Gopal would not comment on this story. He said via text that he is traveling and would call back Monday.
Hudson and Bergen Counties from the northern part of the state were represented by their county chairman and, in Hudson’s case, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, the Democrats new rising star. Hudson County Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, rumored to be Oliver’s replacement as Assembly Speaker, was there.
PolitickerNJ said “no grand agenda shaped the evening.” But a Democratic operative who does not want to be known for talking to a Republican blogger told MMM the dinner was a warm up for Norcross talking control of the Assembly leadership come January, assuming, as most observers do, that the Democrats retain control of the Assembly after the November election.
Gopal’s absence was not seen as significant by the operative. “Monmouth doesn’t have any Democratic legislators. The other Chairs without Democratic legislators were not invited either.”
Oliver’s and Divencenzo’s absence was significant, according to the source. “George sent them a message.”