U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) tonight formally endorsed his old friend former U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) in the developing West New York contest.
Addressing a crowd of at least 500 people at the Graycliff in Moonachie, Menendez talked up Sires, who wants to return to the office of mayor after retiring from the United States Congress.
“Why are you here to support Albio Sires? What’s the one word you would describe Albio as; and I said ‘indispensable,'” said New Jersey’s senior senator. “He is indispensable to West New York. I have been privileged to represent West New York for 50 years in one capacity or another.
“He is West New York,” Menendez added.
If the senator lived in West New York, he added, he’d want Sires as his mayor.
The former congressman, officially replaced in the 8th District by Menendez’s son, Rob, Jr., who assumed the oath of office this year, stood at attention amid other Hudson County dignitaries as Menendez spoke.
State Senator Brian P. Stack (D-33) stood there in affirmation alongside the sitting mayor (who occupies Stack’s slate in the 2023 legislative election): Gabe Rodriguez.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner assumed a front and center position, too, while Menendez addressed the crowd.
Big enough to buttress the presence of Middlesex County Democratic Committee Chairman Kevin McCabe, who attended, along with consigliere Gary Taffet.
Prior to 2007, the town was essentially stabilized, first by Anthony Defino (1971-1995) and then Albio Sires (1995 to 2006). Then came Sal Vega, the torchbearer of the Sires era, who served a full, single term (2007 to 2011) before his dethroning at the hands of Felix Roque.
The anti-establishment Roque served two terms (2011-2019) before getting upended by Rodriguez, who, of course, had the backing of Congressman (and former Mayor) Sires.
Now, after a single local term, Rodriguez is going to the Assembly under the auspices of district-ruling Stack, and Sires wants to return to the throne of local power, a local warlord in his own right, with the backing of Stack.
Roque wants back on that same throne, too, in an effort to elasticize West New York back to his post-Sires era.
But Sires and Roque aren’t the only men who want to run the town.
Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, an academic who labors with the support of the Sacco organization, also craves the job.
Based in part on the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) power projection platform on display tonight, Sires must be considered the favorite.