Asbury Park Press: NJ Inaugural Ball Raises Money for Sandy Recovery
Malia Rulon Herman | Asbury Park Press
WASHINGTON — It was a Jersey night through and through at the state’s inaugural ball Sunday night, complete with diner food, Bruce Springsteen covers and casino card games.
Proceeds from the New Jersey State Society event, which took place on the eve of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration today, were to go to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Society president Donise Cameron expected to raise about $15,000.
“This is an inaugural celebration, but we need to continue to keep the focus on New Jersey because the need is great,” Cameron said.
Ball attendees were greeted with familiar tunes, courtesy of the B-Street band, as they dined on cheese fries and Taylor ham-egg-and-cheese sandwiches.
There also was an Atlantic City-style casino and a silent auction offering up items such as a Johnson & Johnson goodie basket and a night at The Atlantic Club.
“This is definitely Jersey,” said John Byers, legislative director for Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J.. “It’s hard to beat diner food and the B-Street band.”
For Gina LaPlaca of Cherry Hill, the Sandy fundraiser made an already wonderful event even better.
“You can have fun and do something good at the same time,” she said.
Many of New Jersey’s Democrats showed up, including Reps. Frank J. Pallone Jr. and Bill Pascrell. Newark Mayor Cory Booker even swung by, although he spent most of the night posing for photos with event attendees.
Lance arrived early.
“I, obviously, was a supporter of Gov. (Mitt) Romney,” he said. “President Obama won the election, and now we have to move forward in a bipartisan fashion.”
Booker, who has filed federal papers to run for the seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, declined to talk about the race.
“Tonight is about President Obama and our vice president, and I’m enjoying and celebrating that,” he told reporters.
Lautenberg and Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez did not attend the ball.
Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and the honorary host of the event, also did not attend.