WEST NEW YORK – It was a good night for Phil Murphy and Leroy Jones.
On a very wet Saturday morning in April, Murphy and Jones appeared under a tent set up on 55th street to hype the mayoral candidacy of Albio Sires.
No one would be better to run this Hudson County town, they said, than the just-retired congressman whose family came to these shores after fleeing Castro’s Cuba more than 60 years ago.
It sure would have been a kick in the gut for the governor and state party chair if Sires somehow lost.
But come Wednesday morning, Murphy and Jones could rest easy – Sires and his team of commission candidates won by about 1,500 votes. This was no landslide, but it was a solid win.
In fact, Sires called the win one of the most gratifying of his career as he spoke to hundreds of supporters who packed a ballroom at Las Palmas Restaurant.
One man he specifically thanked was Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who also was under the tent that rainy morning.
Sires said Stack’s support was crucial, adding that the win “solidified West New York and Union City.”
With that, many in the crowd began chanting, “Brian, Brian,” as if Stack had won something.
And then Sires added, “Weehawken too.” Richard Turner, the long-time mayor of Weehawken, is expected to be Sires’ town administrator in West New York.
Victory night speeches are not the time for policy discussions and this one was no exception.
The newly-elected mayor did say that he already is making plans and that his first 100 days should be interesting.
But there is always time for politics. This election is over, but Sires told the crowd they should get ready for the June primary.
Mayoral candidate Cosmo Cirillo and his team were banking on voters rejecting Sires’ attempted comeback.
A few minutes before the polls closed, I chatted with Hiram Gonzalez, who ran for city commission on Cirillo’s ticket.
He was upbeat, suggesting – or hoping – that voters would decide that Sires’ time was over. But that was not the case.
Cirillo graciously thanked supporters at his Hudson Street headquarters and pledged to hold the incoming administration accountable.
Besides not being elected mayor, Cirillo also is vacating his seat on the city commission.
But as he said Tuesday night, he’s not going anywhere.