U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) made it clear whose side he’s on ahead of next year’s county executive race, putting Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and West New York Mayor Felix Roque in his crosshairs during a speech at his fundraiser last night.
To the surprise of no one that has been following the split recently, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise indicated that he’s looking forward to a fight in June 2019.
“We learned certain lessons on the streets of West New York, Jersey City or any of the urban areas there: that’s the way it’s done. You go into a competition and you go as hard as you can and you try to win, if you don’t win, you shake hands, you look your opponent in the eye and say ‘I’m gonna get you next time,'” DeGise said.
” … That is what city boys do, that is what has been engrained in us. What is not engrained is attacks from the rear. What is not is innuendo and the bullying of some mayors who think that it’s their time to cast aside leadership that has been true to this county for a long, long time.”
Sires, who came out early in support of DeGise’s re-election after Fulop and state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack announced they would be backing another candidate, expressed frustration with the civil war unfolding between Hudson Dems.
“It was not necessary … it was already said that Tom DeGise was gonna get out support to run again and then they (Fulop and Stack) go and decide that they’re going to be kingmakers,” Sires told a crowd of around 150 people at the Liberty House Restaurant.
“The mayor of Jersey City goes around seeing that he’s going to take over the county. I don’t think he realizes this is Hudson County … Hudson County is a different animal … but to come out of nowhere and all of a sudden start saying ‘you’re out, you’re out, your’e out’ that’s a misunderstanding of what Hudson County is all about.”
Sires’ camp is expecting a rare Democratic primary battle on June 5th, with top Stack ally Tilo Rivas, a Union City commissioner and freeholder, poised to challenge the incumbent.
A former state Assembly speaker and West New York mayor, who emphasized several times over that a civil war is detrimental to the re-election of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sires also made it clear that he isn’t happy with Mayor Felix Roque right now.
“I’ll tell you this: we are going to make a change in West New York for the better in the future: that I’m committed to,” he exclaimed.
Roque was quick to back Fulop and Stack in ousting DeGise next year, a fact that has clearly not been lost on the veteran Cuban-born congressman – or even three of Roque’s fellow commissioners.
Fulop and Roque’s offices did not immediately return emails seeking comment.
Dignitaries in attendance included U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-9) and Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10), state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Assembly members Angela McKnight and Nick Chiaravalloti (both D-31), Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and his full re-election slate, Freeholder Chairman Anthony Vainieri (D-8), Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), Newark Councilman-at-Large Luis Quintana, West New York Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo, Gabriel Rodriguez and Margarita Guzman, West New York BOE Trustees Adam Parkinson and Jonathan Castaneda, former state Senate Majority Leader Bernie Kenny, among many others.