Peace or what?

“I held a party and nobody came.”

This lyric from an old 1972 Bee Gees hit seemed to sum up the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s effort to show solidarity on Feb 11, when they scheduled a press conference and then had to call it off supposedly over “scheduling difficulties.”

Although later rescheduled for Feb. 18, the truth of the matter is that the truce was interrupted by last minute negotiations.

State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who led a countywide revolution against the HCDO in last June’s primary held out for guarantees from the HCDO before he was willing to call a truce.

Behind the scenes, Stack people have been organizing a possible challenge for control of the freeholder board, while the HCDO people were scrambling to seek a way to stop it.

The truce would leave everything as it is, giving all the incumbents – those supported by Stack and those by the HCDO – the official Democratic line on the ballot.

In exchange for this uncomfortable truce, Stack apparently wanted to keep his own organization — Democrats for Hudson County – and to have those committee people loyal to him made the official committee people for the Democratic Party in Hudson County.

Two committee people are elected to each election district in each ward of each city once a year. They representing the bottom rung of the power pyramid in the Democratic Organization, and often are required to make critical decisions when it comes to selecting candidates and replacing public officials who leave office early for some reason. By retaining his committee people in those slots, Stack maintains his power base.

The truce, too, comes partly because both sides lack money for another countywide fight. By keeping the status quo, Stack can raise money and gear up his troops for the more significant battles expected to occur in 2009.

Stack is expected to back Councilman Michael Russo for mayor in Hoboken. The HCDO is apparently has already promised to support for Councilwoman Carol Marsh.

Jersey City will also see municipal elections in 2009 with Stack eyeing possible candidates there as well.

This is not to say the June 2008 will be free of conflict.

Retired police office Anthony Nardini is reportedly one of the candidates that may challenge Freeholder Doreen DiDomenico in Bayonne. Sean Connors is expected to challenge Freeholder Eliu Rivera in Jersey City. Andrew Conti is expected to challenge Freeholder Tom Liggio in Secaucus and North Bergen.

Even Hoboken/Jersey City Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons has to be looking over his shoulder for a potential challenge.

Obama has hidden strengths against McCain

Even before the national polls showed Democrat U.S. Senator Barack Obama could beat Republican John McCain in a head to head battle for president of the U.S. States, conservative political consultant Rick Shafton explained why.

Although local Democrats believe both Democrats, Obama or Hillary Clinton, will have a hard time with McCain, Shafton – supported by national polls – show Obama would win against McCain if the election was held today.

Part of the problem is uneasy conservative base in the Republican Party, which prefers Mike Huckabee to McCain.

“Huckabee compounds McCain’s problems on illegal immigration and taxes,” Shafton said. “The problem here is the same Gerald Ford faced in 1976. A lot of people think Obama is the weakest Democrat to run against the GOP, but they are wrong. Clinton is polarizing. Obama is not and he will get white Southern evangelicals to vote for him — not a majority — but significantly more than John Kerry got. The Southern Republicans do not fear Clinton, they fear Obama. Race relations in the South are not and have never been what Northerners — white and black — think.”

More than a little correction

Early editions of the Hudson Reporter papers claimed North Bergen had not come out strongly for Clinton in the Feb. 5 Democratic Primary, when the opposite was true. Voters in North Bergen gave Clinton 8,860 votes to Obama’s 2,477.

According to political consultant Paul Swibinski, State Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco held a special committee meeting with his people a week before the primary, urging them to work hard to get their people out to vote.

“He instructed people to be careful, not to alienate any Obama voters, just to inform that the local Democratic organization was backing Hillary Clinton and that the most important thing was to have a good turnout,” Swibinski said. “They were thrilled with their near 4-1 win on election day.”

Swibinski said there has always been a competition of sorts to see who gets more votes – North Bergen or Union City

“Both organizations are excellent,” he said. “Because Union City has more people and voters, they usually get a bigger total. North Bergen on the other hand, usually gets a little better margin. This time, NB produced 1,150 more votes for Hillary. That was really amazing. This is a very proud organization, people who have been around for quite a while who take great personal proud in their own district’s performance.”

Healy did better in getting out the Obama vote in Jersey City than many people claimed at first. But Obama had a lot of help, from people such as Freeholder Chairman Jeff Dublin, and Jersey City Councilman Mariano Vega.

email to Al Sullivan


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