20 years of Joe D? 5 challenges Dem power broker faces in reelection bid

Before he took office, “Essex County was a laughing stock to the entire state of New Jersey,” DiVincenzo said in a phone interview. “What I’ve done for the county speaks for itself.”

Under his team’s direction, he said, the county has improved its financial standing from junk bonds to a AA1 rating, spent hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading and adding to the county park system, and built or rehabbed about a dozen county-owned facilities — like the county jail, a prosecutor’s office crime lab, and a sheriff’s patrol building. If elected to a fifth term, DiVincenzo said he’d hope to focus on continuing to improve the county’s financial health, parks system, public buildings, and roadways.

In the 2014 election, DiVincenzo scored more than 76 percent of the vote over Republican challenger Peter Tanella. It’s unclear who his challengers will be in the 2018 race. But, no matter his opponents, the five issues below are likely to challenge the powerhouse politician during his upcoming campaign.


During his 15-year tenure as Essex County Executive, Joseph DiVincenzo has become a power player in the New Jersey political scene, as the who’s-who guest list at his high-profile campaign kickoff this week for a fifth term in office clearly displayed. DiVincenzo says he’s used his influence and the political relationships he’s formed to make Essex County better. But, as he prepares to fight for a fifth time up to bat in Essex, the 65-year-old Democrat is poised to face some challenges he’s seen before, and a few new ones he hasn’t.


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