CALDWELL– Assemblyman Jay Webber said on Monday that a Thursday meeting in a Fairfield diner between rival candidates Peter DeNeufville and Tony Ghee needs to be looked in to.
“We know they met. We know what they were talking about. Whether a job was offered is a matter of some dispute, but people should look into it, certainly,” Webber said, adding that all he knew of the meeting came from press coverage. “Folks deserve an answer, regardless of how the election turns out.”
Ghee claims that DeNeufville offered him an appointment to the Morris County Parks Commission in exchange for his endorsement and withdrawal from the race. DeNeufville called that account of the meeting “preposterous” and said Ghee was mischaracterizing the conversation.
Patrick Allocco, the third candidate present at the meeting, said in a statement that he did not believe there was any malice on DeNeufville’s part.
But news of the meeting has Webber feeling good, and not only because of how such news might damage DeNeufville’s campaign, which is likely to be the strongest challenger to Webber’s.
“All I can tell you is the guy I think is in second place, DeNeufville, met with the guy who I think is in third place, Ghee, and told him flat out ‘I’ve got polling that says I can’t win if you’re in the race,’” Webber said. “Ghee’s not going anywhere, so I feel good about where we are.”
Webber has also drawn the meeting into his campaign’s arms locker. He mentioned the meeting several times during a meet and greets in Bloomfield and Caldwell on Monday. He’s held many of the intimate events over the campaign’s final weekend.
“This is just an opportunity to meet the people and discuss with them issues that are on their minds and are important to them, and so I quite enjoy it,” Webber said. “It’s a great way to ramp up to victory, and you see people who’ve been volunteering, who want to volunteer, they’ll help turn out the vote tomorrow.”
The Democratic front-runner, retired Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor Mikie Sherrill, campaigned at train stations in Chatham, Madison and Montclair today and finished up her day with a Get Out the Vote rally in her hometown of Montclair.
Essex County freeholder Brendan Gill, the Montclair Democratic municipal chairman, says that he expects a higher-than-usual turnout in the nine districts in Montclair that are part of the 11th.
“Outside of statewide, outside of gubernatorial and U.S. Senate primaries, we haven’t had a contested congressional primary in quite some time,” Gill told the New Jersey Globe. “We have a rally tonight that we’re doing for the Line A team in Montclair, and would expect that the turnout would be high tomorrow, not just based on the race but based on the level of participation intensity that I’ve seen on the ground just from volunteers, people working, the national dynamic, and the campaign that Mikie has run.”
Gill admitted her feels some pressure to produce for Sherill.
“She’s been supported by the local organization and lots of different constituencies, and she’s a hometown candidate,” Gill said. “We want to perform and produce for her.”