Stack Versus Sanders as Time Ticks Down in Murphy World

Bernie Sanders, left, Phil Murphy and Brian Stack.

In a piece of backroom political theater worthy of Frank Hague versus Saul Alinsky, Governor Phil Murphy will finally appear at the side of state Senator Brian P. Stack in Union City tonight, in an event nearly derailed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT).

It started last week when Stack – who serves as the mayor of his Hudson County city an specializes in generating massive election numbers – got a call last week from Murphy’s inner sanctum.

The governor wouldn’t be able to make a scheduled rally with Stack on his home turf.

Why the hell not?

Bernie Sanders would be in town, stumping for Murphy.

It was almost too much to comprehend.

Stack turns human bodies into vote totals for whomever he designates emperor of the realm.


Sanders was the equivalent of a celebrity in stack world.

“Well, Brian, he was once actually a mayor, so…”

Stack didn’t care.

Damage done.

It takes a lot of time, money, energy and organization to put together a big, governor-sized rally. Murphy throwing over Stack for Bernie was the New Jersey version of giving the mayor of Boston the finger in order to stand next to Ben Affleck.

Murphy’s people didn’t quite understand why Stack was upset.

They didn’t get it.

In Stack’s eyes, the slight almost amounted to a disqualifier for governor.

“Brian had some serious thinking to do,” a source told InsiderNJ.

It wasn’t deep thinking, by any means. This was not going to be Hamlet on the Hudson. He would probably take a few minutes and then render judgment.

He had crossed the aisle before, too.

In 2013, he backed Republican Governor Chris Christie over Democrat Barbara Buono, and paid a price for it. When he took a run at the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) chairmanship, his opponents held it against him.

Still, not having his imperial army on election day could depress statewide vote totals.

The Murphy camp and Stack managed to reschedule the event for tonight.

“Better that way, Brian. You get to be the star on the eve of Election Day.”

That didn’t overly pacify Stack.

He didn’t want to be a Star.

That was Sanders, and maybe Murphy, if the governor followed Christie into a national orbit.

Stack just wanted to be politically locally grounded, and strictly observant of protocols, and true to one’s word.

For Murphy’s part, his allies could high five with the rationalization that while moderates and progressives push and shove in Washington, D.C. with no end in sight, they have a campaign that could accommodate progressive Vermont socialist Sanders and raging broom handle-job providing pragmatist Stack, literally the son of a public transit worker.


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