Sacco versus Stack.
Stack v. Sacco.
As much as the political classes of Hudson County on the one hand try to snow blow (Governor Murphy to address incoming actual snowstorm at 4:15 pm) any division into the rearview of Hudson history, they also want to maintain some semblance of hard-nosed politics.
And had-nosed politics requires hard-nosed rivalries.
Or at least one rivalry.
So, perhaps in the interest of living up to what happened in Weehawken all those years ago, the county satisfies itself not to have one Frank Hague, but two, as those two North Bergen bosses – Senator Brian P. Stack of Union City and Senator Nick Sacco of North Bergen – continue their years-long power flirtation.
If one of them goes in one direction, the other – might – go in on another path, thereby unhinging Hudson into Hudson’s version of chaos: namely old guys in rumpled suits slumped in diners fretting about what “Brian” or “Nick” – or both – will do or say next, with each claiming to have a unique grip on the ear of one or the other.
Lest anyone get too intrigued by who might replace Bob Menendez, the allies of Stack and Sacco are doing their level best to percolate some drama in Menendez land. In this case, the Jersey City mayoral race – scheduled for 2025, the same year as the next gubernatorial contest – continues to cause a kerfuffle.
Stack backs former Governor James McGreevey to be the next mayor.
Sacco’s name evidently appeared on piece of paper, or a press release, likewise backing McGreevey, mostly presumably in the interest of working with Stack.
But now, in the aftermath of Sacco learning the degree to which Middlesex County too might be involved in the Jersey City Mayoral contest, Sacco looked to be eyeballing Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea as his own personal candidate for mayor.
Someone might even make off with some candlesticks.
It’s like this:
O’Dea and McGreevey are both announced candidates for the job to succeed sitting Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, an already announced candidate for governor. If Stack sticks with McGreevey and Sacco – who invited O’Dea to sit at his table, thus triggering frantic whispers of intrigue – goes with O’Dea, the whole county could come apart.
Or so say the experts over there.
All the delicate little deals in Hudson depend on peace between Stack and Sacco, adjacent placated iguanas on the rocks of neighboring towns. But if one looks like he has an upper hand on the other, “all hell could break loose,” in the words of one sweaty operative who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Given the heave ho out of the senate on a redistricting map that favored the younger Stack, Sacco already radiates a vaguely wounded, long in the tooth vibe, or so say those who lean in the direction of Stack, who rarely takes a picture where he’s in focus because he’s always moving.
But Sacco’s guys say people draw that conclusion at their own peril.
“Nick is still Nick,” an operative assured InsiderNJ.
He may not be in the senate anymore, but he’s no less lethal locally, and still relishes the political mechanics of his home county.
So, if he goes with O’Dea,
There will be hell to pay.
It’s already starting to sound like the lyrics to a folk song.
Probably one not written by Woody Guthrie.
Will it add up to anything in the end besides some drinking and eating and jobs stacked like blueberry pancakes on plates?
We’ll be watching.
At the very least, even without Sacco going in – and he might not – people, after all, talk – the McGreevey versus O’Dea matchup looks competitive in its own right.
Maybe by the end of it, someone might say:
O’Dea versus McGreevey.
McGreevey versus O’Dea.