After 16 years in federal office, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) elected not to run for reelection to the United States House of Representatives last year and instead decided to run for mayor of his hometown. Tonight, Sires won back the mayoralty of West New York, which he occupied from 1995-2006, by his own reckoning the job in government he liked the most.
Running with the backing of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, Governor Phil Murphy, Democratic State Party Chairman LeRoy Jones, and powerful state Senator Brian P. Stack, Sires defeated Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo.
It was roughly a 1500-margin victory for Sires’ team – a five-person sweep.
For more on ALBIO SIRES please go here.
For InsiderNJ Columnist Fred Snowflack’s coverage from the streets of West New York earlier today, please go here. It was Snowflack who relayed the news tonight from Cirillo’s headquarters, when the commissioner conceded that Sires had vanquished him.
“At Cirillo headquarters on Hudson Avenue, his crowd of sign-waving supporters were In high spirits in the minutes before the polls closed.
“Music was blaring and supporters were dancing and congratulating each other in anticipation of victory.
“It was not to be.
“As results came in, it was clear things were not going well.
“At around 8:30 p.m., Cirillo told the crowd:
“’They’re not the results we were looking for. … this is not going to be our time.’”
The former Congressman won.
A former Speaker and former Republican turned Democrat, Sires at 72 continues to excel at relationship building, as evidenced by the broad support he received within the political establishment and manifested with his local vote totals tonight.
America served as a civic and civil savior for young Sires, whose family fled communist Cuba and resettled in West New York, in Hudson County, beloved proving ground for the young athlete, who would distinguish himself as a St. Peter’s Basketball star and come to epitomize immigrant opportunity made good in a life of public service.
He succeeded Anthony DeFino as mayor, then plugged up the congressional seat following his friend and fellow Cuban, Bob Menendez’s ascent to the United States Senate.
After 16 mostly frustrating but also – in the end – gratifying, if simultaneously heartbreaking years in the United States Congress, the former WNY mayor doesn’t want out – but back in at the local level, where it all began for the 11-year-old anti-Castro American diehard with the ready smile and instantly recognizable stentorian voice.
He climbed from mayor up the totem pole to Congress, and – a little horrified by what he found up there – craves a return to that more local perch, where he says the real power resides.
EDITOR’S NOTE: InsiderNJ Photo by Fred Snowflack.