Bob Menendez just weathered a night of tough sledding on a Camelback kiddie slope.
Well, at least he has a unified Hudson to go home to, right?
Hudson is in the middle of a political war that makes the CD11 Republican Primary look like a game of marbles.
“It’s Bunker Hill over here,” a source told InsiderNJ last night, referring to West New York on Election Night, scene to a county committee showdown.
In less than a week, committee members will convene on Kearny High School to pick the next chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO). The allies of state Senator Brian P. Stack (D-33) say their guy will preside over historic Hudson numbers for Menendez. they have a history of results to prove it. The allies of Jersey City School Board Member Amy DeGise offer the counterweight of party purity: a #me2 movement-grounded messenger unencumbered by a lovey dovey history with Gov. Chris Christie.
They’re on a collision course, and Menendez appears determined to play the role of Ceasar at the coliseum, apparently eager to see someone – like Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, for example – get dragged around behind a chariot. The trouble is, whatever Menendez’s penchant for political mayhem and retribution – any and all casualties ultimately scar him, and likely perpetuate a negative atmosphere and abiding ill-will.
Let’s say Stack loses on Tuesday.
He’s not on the ballot on Tuesday.
What’s to prevent him from going on a very well-deserved cruise on Election Day?
“You say Amy DeGise has got this? Ok, later, Bob.”
What if DeGise loses?
Well, Hudson is anti-woman, she can argue. “Everyone knows it.”
The question now is whether Menendez – facing a $40 million Republican candidate named Bob Hugin – can afford a splintered and injured home base.
Menendez alone can fix the problem with two phone calls, insiders argue.
Phone call number one:
“Brian, you have to endorse Tom DeGise’s 2019 reelection to county executive.”
Phone call number two:
“Tom, you have to tell your daughter to stand down and endorse Brian for HCDO chair.”
The ensuing press conference would feature all the principals standing there like the cast of Star Wars at the end of a New Hope, as a beaming Menendez heals Hudson County and announces, “Let’s go beat Bob Hugin.”
Sounds simple enough.
That press conference could go down tomorrow.
So why doesn’t it?
“Bob wants to see Fulop squirm,” a source offered.
Fulop and Stack told DeGise he was done as county executive next year, apparently expecting the kindly white-haired sports fan to go get in a golf cart and drive away for good. It didn’t happen, and now “Brian and Steven” have to deal with the consequences, particularly Steven, as far as Menendez is concerned, because he and the Jersey City mayor don’t get along.
So he would sanction an intramural war even if it means draining political life out of himself as he prepares for the ultimate battle beyond?
“Yes,” a source groaned, in agony. “You don’t understand the Hudson mentality.”