Despite an earlier announcement of a move to Nutley, todays Star Ledger is breaking news that State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo is planning to move from his native Belleville to Bloomfield. While hIs new address is yet to be confirmed, the chess game of musical chairs behind the move was deconstructed by "THe Auditor" on SL's political blog. Some of the following is pure speculation, but it would make a great who-done-it -- and a suitable addition to our towns reputation for political theater.
Pay attention closely, because this is a case of lawmaker dominoes, where one falling piece pushes the other.
The new legislative district map put three incumbent Assembly members into one district: Coutinho, Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and Grace Spencer (D-Essex).
The Auditor is told DiVincenzo first hoped Caputo would give up his Assembly seat and run for reelection as a freeholder, solving everything. But Caputo wanted to do the opposite, and planned to move from his hometown of Belleville so he could run in a district that resembled his old one.
That, however, would put him in competition with brand-new Assemblyman Kevin Ryan (D-Essex), widely viewed as a placeholder for when DiVincenzo’s son, Joseph G. DiVincenzo, runs one day.
So DiVincenzo’s next step was to try to get Caputo to run in his new district — in place of Coutinho. But Essex County Democratic Chairman Phil Thigpen objected.
Ultimately, Ryan stepped aside, Caputo moved to Bloomfield to run for his seat, and Coutinho got to keep his Assembly seat.