The Hudson County War: Menendez Says Let the Democratic Committee People Decide

JERSEY CITY – It was a long weekend ahead of the scheduled Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) reorganization meting tomorrow in Kearny, with most of the intrigue centering on whether U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) would stand on the scale in the 11th hour.

It apparently never happened.

Menendez didn’t place that urgent phone call over the weekend amid murmurs by his allies.

He’s staying out of the fray in the tick down to when state Senator Brian P. Stack (D-33) faces Jersey City School Board Member Amy DeGise Tuesday in a political denouement of their pitched rivalry to succeed HCDO Chairman Vinny Prieto.

At Metropolitan Family Health Network today where the senator announced a total of nearly $46million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund federally-qualified health centers around the state and against the backdrop of explosive international politics, InsiderNJ asked Menendez about the party chair battle in his home county a day before the Stack-DeGise showdown.

Does he have a public opinion?

Will he get involved to tip the balance in one direction or the other?

“This is a decision for the Democratic County Committee men and women,” said the senior senator. “It’s a choice. From my perspective, when I was more intimately involved, I sought peace in the county. Peace is far more profitable in terms of the success we can have with people represented. But I understand the aspirations of people. They have a right to aspire, and with aspiration comes a contest; and whatever the results are I hope, regardless of who succeeds, that they come together as a party, because we have in front of us the most consequential election maybe of my adult life.

“This election this year for congress – the house and senate – it’s an opportunity to take our country back and check the balance of a reckless administration on behalf of working families,” Menendez added. “If there is no check and balance, I am certain the president will continue to lead the nation in a reckless fashion.

“I wish we weren’t in the midst of a fight but democracy says people have a right to aspire and hopefully they come together at the end of their aspiration,” he added.

Victories by the DeGise team last week in West New York and Harrison – and a clear edge in Bayonne – have the daughter of the Hudson County Executive in a seemingly strong position as she heads into tomorrow’s fight. Stack forces say they’ve done everything humanly possible, and the allies of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop insist on strong numbers in the county’s biggest city.

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