WHO’S UP AND WHO’S DOWN: Special Elections Edition

WHO’S UP

Amy DeGise

She put it on her back, making history as the first elected woman chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) with a very convincing 56% victory at Kearny High School. Succeeding as the foil to another Senate Democratic caucus member in the aftermath of Colleen Mahr’s failure to get past Senator Nick Scutari earlier this year in a Union chair’s fight, the pioneering DeGise proved a strong candidate, who exposed her rival’s vulnerabilities and took to the fight to him old school. She is now one of five female Democratic chairs (Hudson, Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer and Sussex).

Reed Gusciora

What an extraordinary accomplishment for the lowkey master relationship-builder originally from Passaic. Like DeGise up north, the Assemblyman from the 15th District also made history tonight with his 52% win over rival Paul Perez, becoming the first openly gay mayor of New Jersey’s capital city.

Ronald DeFilippis 

The new chairman of the Morris County Republican Committee is an accountant from Roxbury who managed to defeat his rival tonight 243 to 239.

Tom DeGise

Tom DeGise

Infamously denied the support of Brian P. Stack and Steven Fulop in a Coach House diner booth, the Hudson County Democratic Executive refused to dry up and blow away. The teacher by profession evidently taught his daughter a thing or two about politics as she romped to victory tonight, honoring the family name and trade. Stack told InsiderNJ in the aftermath that he’s done with fighting the county next year, and stopped just short of issuing an endorsement for the man he tried to smother with Fulop.

Ras Baraka

The Mayor of Newark landed three wins in three council races tonight: LaMonica Ivers in the Central Ward, incumbent Joe McCallum in the West, and 20-year incumbent Augusto Amador in the East. The outcomes tonight effectively sealed the city council entirely in Baraka’s favor. Deserving of particular praise for their efforts in the east on behalf of Amador were Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, North Ward Democratic Chairman Sammy Gonzalez, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, and Pat Politano, a veteran hand who was up against top notch operative Dave Parano on the opposing side.

Albio Sires

By helping to secure a victory for DeGise with the delivery of 50 committee votes, the Congressman from the 8th District solidifies his own future in the congressional seat. In addition, the work by allies Mayor Jimmy Davis, Bayonne BA Joe DeMarco and Sires communications director and Bayonne Party Vice Chair Erica Daughtrey to deliver close to 100 committee votes to DeGise proved immensely helpful to the DeGise cause.

Craig Guy and Phil Swibinski

The pair of HCDO operatives did strong work for Amy DeGise in helping to secure her win. Tom DeGise Chief of Staff Guy is one of those largely unheralded Hudson veterans who knows how to run an operation. Son of Vision Media Founder Paul Swibinski, young comer Phil did strong work on behalf of Amy DeGise on the messaging side. Former Assemblyman Sean Connors was another big winner tonight. The Jersey City detective served as DeGise’s body man – and political bird dogger – on the campaign trail.

Joe Pennacchio

On fractured political terrain, the 26th District Republican Senator backed winner DeFilippis for chair of the Morris County GOP.

Peter Murphy

Banged up on mail fraud charges, the former Passaic County GOP chair returned unopposed tonight to the chair of power in his home county, once again reasserting Murphy’s Tavern in Totowa as the nerve center for Passaic GOP politics.

Phil Murphy

Not that Stack ever disrespected Murphy, but the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA)-friendly Governor assuredly has a friend in teacher-by-trade Amy DeGise, the new chair of the HCDO. DeGise’s win is a win too for Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie, who never got along with Stack, and wants to hold together some semblance of the quad-north county alliance on behalf of the politically challenged Governor.

Anthony Verrelli 

Denied an LD15 Assembly seat earlier this year, the Mercer County Freeholder – and Carpenters labor leader – will get another establishment-aided crack at it when Gusciora empties the seat to become mayor of Trenton.

Mike Suleiman 

Yes, he absolutely paved over his opponent tonight to secure another term as chair of the Atlantic County Democratic Party, and that in and of itself doesn’t constitute a concussive victory. But staring down the early potential challenge of Colin Bell showed power early, that came to full flower as Suleiman dominated his reorganization meeting.

WHO’S DOWN

Brian P. Stack

As Senator Nick Sacco told the Hudson View, Stack had the chairmanship, then chucked Tom DeGise on the tracks and inexplicably unraveled it for himself. Stack insisted that he was only telling DeGise to his face what he planned to tell him on the other side of his securing the chairmanship. But it didn’t go down well, as the elder DeGise rallied the troops behind him and delivered for his daughter as the ultimate foil to Stack. The Union City Mayor/Senator, on the other hand, had a pretty motley political crew of mayors – save Hoboken Chief Ravi Bhalla – with which to try to build a revolution.

Fulop

Steven Fulop

In his war with Tom DeGise, the Jersey City Mayor got pancaked, failing – by far – to deliver the 270 county committee votes he and his allies thought they had, and infuriating Stack. Terrible, terrible night for Fulop, who appeared callow when he attempted to discharge of DeGise, only to have the move boomerang dismally in Kearny.

Mark Albiez

Yeah, it’s true. Painful, but true. Fulop’s chief of staff (and Stack’s former chief of staff) was in that infamous Coach House booth – one of the three guys that sat there and tried to pull the plug on DeGise, sparking the war, and now lies among the casualties.

Felix Roque

Unlike Fulop, who just got reelected last year, the West New York has to hobble into 2019 with the dual foes of Sires and former Mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega looking to flatten him. By siding with Stack agsint district overlord state Senator Nick Sacco and taking a shellacking, Roque made his reelection next year look very bleak.

Steve Sweeney

Running political circles around neophyte Murphy in Trenton, the Senate President notched a loss tonight when Stack went down in Hudson. If Stack had landed the HCDO chairmanship, the still-statewide ambitious Sweeney would have had a friend in the position, instead of a pro-Murphy, card-carrying member of the NJEA.

Rob Zwigard

The candidate for Morris County GOP chair lost a heartbreaker tonight to DeFilippis.

The Buccos

State Senator Tony Bucco (R-25) and his son, Assemblyman Tony Bucco, Jr. (R-25), backed Zwigard for Morris County Republican chairman against the Pennacchio-backed DeFilippis, tonight’s winner for four votes.

Paul Perez

The former Pentagon security personnel lost the Trenton mayoral runoff to Assemblyman Gusciora by 350 votes. That’s Perez’s second mayoral loss in as many tries.

Seth Grossman

Just as he attempts to unify his own party for a tough fight with state Senator Jeff Van Drew, the CD2 Republican nominee’s comment that “diversity is a bunch of crap” statement met with wide derision, and even caused the Atlantic County attorney to issue a “if I had to do it over again” confession of having made a poor choice of words.

Anthony Campos

The former Police Director/Chief had history at his back when he made it into the runoff against incumbent Amador in the East Ward, but he couldn’t withstand the North Ward-aided transfiguration of Amador, or the ire of Sheriff Fontoura.

Zachary Chester 

Jeered and laughed at in the runoff debate earlier this month, the West Ward councilman with a history of bullying (just ask Phyllis Holly Ward) got humiliated tonight in his tilt with rising star West Ward Councilwoman-elect Robin Vaughn, who devastated him 2122-1049.

Chris Christie

He became the story again, and not in a good way, in Hudson County, where a sound truck played (and replayed and replayed) Stack’s 2013 endorsement of the Republican Governor as committee members tried to get into Kearny High School to vote. DeGise’s association of Stack with Christie gave her a leg up on messaging as she attempted to connect with committee members to seal the deal. As much as Christie lost tonight, his vanquished statewide foe Barbara Buono – who came out of retirement to bash Stack on Twitter – could bask a little bit in DeGise’s win.

James Rotundo

Palisades Park Councilman Christopher Chung unofficially defeated the hapless Mayor Rotundo 1,113 to 1,105 after a provisional ballot count and a racist, anti-Korean Facebook rant by Rotundo’s mother.

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