Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. raised over $600,000 at a campaign kickoff event last night as he seeks an unprecedented sixth term this year.
The big news at the event was an appearance by former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland), who has been a frequent DiVincenzo critic over the years. This could be the first time Codey attended a DiVincenzo fundraiser.
Under a new legislative redistricting map approved last month, Codey was placed in the same district as another Democratic state senator, Nia Gill (D-Montclair). Most insiders rate Codey, who first won election to the legislature in 1973, as the strong favorite to win that primary.
The fundraiser gives DiVincenzo a warchest of nearly $900,000 as he begins his re-election campaign. No Democrats have filed to challenge him in the primary and Republicans haven’t won a countywide election in Essex since 1998.
He won 81% of the vote in the 2018 general election against North Caldwell Councilman John Chiaia.
DiVincenzo was first elected in 2002 when Democrats reclaimed the powerful county post after eight years of Republican control. He is the longest-serving county executive in Essex – no one has served more than two terms – and is second in the state behind Republican Dennis Levinson, who was elected Atlantic County Executive in 1999.