So, what exactly happened last night in Hudson?
Depends on whom you ask.
The friends of Albio Sires say the Cuban immigrant came full circle on his infectious American Dream.
Nice guys finish last?
At least not if they’re named “Albio Sires.”
But when the Randy Newman soundtrack from The Natural dies down, and the guys come in with the brooms and sweep the confetti off the floor in West New York, the inevitable question arises – “What exactly happened in raw political terms?” the only terms that count in a country called New Jersey.
As Sires pointed out in his victory speech quoted by InsiderNJ Columnist Fred Snowflack, state Senator (and Union City Mayor) Brian P. Stack played a major role in getting Sires the win.
If Sires comes across as more of a barbershop-style campaigner, sitting around talking to guys with the baseball game on in the background amid razors and shaving cream, Stack is the epitome of the organization x’s and o’s guy, who doesn’t stop until every door gets banged on and re-banged on and even the drunks get fireman carries to the polling places on Election Day if they’re initially unaccounted for.
There was a decided arc for Sires Tuesday.
But Stack had his own redemption story, too; grainier maybe, and more localized.
If the senator/mayor lost his 2018 initial bid to become the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) Chairman in which old lion state Senator (and North Bergen Mayor) Nick Sacco occupied an opposing gun turret, last night’s Sires victory represented his slow, Fistful of Dollars crawl back to claim a bigger sized Stack footprint that will likely stand as the springy turf he needs toward full control of the county.
Consider the fact that Stack’s opponent in that chair’s race (Amy DeGise) imploded out of political relevance, and her successor as HCDO Chair (Anthony Vainieri) – while Stack, with his own Union City on lockdown, ran around in another town – occupied a place on the Sacco ticket as a North Bergen commissioner.
Consider this, too: Sires’ opponent (Cosmo Cirillo) was the HCDO choice to represent Hudson as part of a redistricting process that ended with tough guy Sacco as the statewide party’s sacrificial lamb.
Getting the heave ho before one says so might happen to a kid in the suburbs but not Nick Sacco.
So, if Sacco (and Vainieri) won last night – and they did – it was on a decidedly shrunken playing field, even as Sacco ward Joey Muniz went down doubly hard after redistricting with the losing Cirillo Campaign.
Muniz wanted to pull a rabbit out of that West New York hat, to create larger statewide opportunities, but, as it turned out, he and Cirillo couldn’t stop the bleeding revealed by the redistricting mess.
Stack’s humiliation in 2018 didn’t diminish him among his allies, and in the final showdown with Sacco last year, his redistricting map won, leaving the older warrior hobbled, and – instead of expanding – retracting.
It bodes well for Stack longer term and – again – his designs to run all of Hudson, if indeed he chooses to go in that direction once more; and it bodes well for Stack’s allies beyond Hague Country, specifically Middlesex County, where Chairman Kevin McCabe has forged a close relationship with Stack. That said, Democratic State Party Chairman LeRoy Jones made sure to salute Stack when he showed up on Sires’ behalf pre-Election Day.
Stack was once that guy derided out of contention by virtue of a sound truck in Kearny reminding committee members that he backed the reelection of Republican Governor Chris Christie in 2013. A few years later and into the future, Democrats will fall over him with a vengeance, especially after what went down in West New York last night.
Of course, none of that has much to do with the American Dream, as classically understood.
That dream was more obviously expressed by Sires.