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State senator Nick Sacco (D-32) can restore a misfiring piece of his political kingdom this evening if Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) acolyte Gabe Rodriguez knocks off renegade West New York Mayor Felix Roque.
But Sacco said he has his head down on his own race.
What’s happening next door in West New York?
“I can’t even guess,” he said.
In an intentionally punishing move by the Democratic establishment, 2011 redistricting pried West New York out of state Senator Brian P. Stack’s (D-33) district and planted it in Sacco’s domain.
In exchange, the North Bergen boss gave up a piece of Jersey City – the Heights, which Stack promptly gobbled up into his own machine.
Sacco stockpiling West New York was supposed to short-circuit Stack and concentrate North Hudson rule under the old party lion.
But then Roque won.
Stack hadn’t overtly backed him.
But the insurgent did run against an incumbent – then-Mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega – whose strongest asset appeared to be the staunch backing of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8), who campaigned hard for Vega.
It wasn’t enough.
Roque knocked off the HCDO company man and proceeded to act like an overt fan of Governor Chris Christie, who swore him into office.
Sacco and Christie were never tight.
Stack and Christie were pals.
But not Sacco.
So the North Hudson boss had to absorb what looked and felt like a miniature Stack-like menace and burgeoning Christie ward in his own backyard.
So much for redistricting.
And it’s been eight years of bucking bronco politics with Roque, who not only gave the HCDO fits when Christie swore him in, but bucked the boss when he endorsed Republican Joe Kyrillos for U.S. senate over Hudson native son Menendez in 2012, quieted down for a while as he doused his own dumpster fire troubles, then resurfaced on Team Stack last year as a warpaint-wearing anti-establishment foot soldier who wanted Bob DeGise turned out of the county executive chair.
At around that time, Roque let fly some loose elbows at Sires, too, which infuriated the congressman and made Sires intent on turning Roque out of office.
A win by the Gabe Rodriguez team tonight would not merely gratify Sires for personal and political reasons, and bulk up an HCDO hobbled in West New York ever since Roque’s 2011 victory, but critically realign the dimensions of North Bergen-centric Sacco’s larger political sphere.
Still, he was phlegmatic on the subject as he professed to concern himself only with NB.