Tomorrow is the final frontier for the North Hudson municipalities West New York and North Bergen, as another round of municipal elections goes down in the record books. The question is: can incumbents Felix Roque and/or Nick Sacco be beaten on the battlefield?Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
West New York
Roque’s campaign, in the eyes of many, appeared to be coasting to victory until they lit a fire underneath the opposition in the eleventh hour.
After an interview with Politicker NJÂ last week, Roque’s arch nemesis Jose Munoz decided to come out of the woodwork and start hurling insultsÂ at the man he considers the antithesis of his existence (and just to be clear, the feeling is mutual).
Munoz has effectivelyÂ re-declared war on Roque,Â endorsing Commissioner Count Wiley’s West New York United slate – vowing to win his district for the five-person, anti-administration team – at the very least.
On top of that, WNYU commissioner candidate Hector Hernandez, Myrli Sanchez and obviously Wiley (and at least one campaign worker) have all been attacked through either vicious mailers and/or media reports.
Hernandez has inarguably gotten in the worst, being accused of being a woman beater by an ex-wife, and now a close friends of hers, and has been attacked in no less than three separate mailers in the past week.
He and his son, Hector Hernandez, Jr., continue to deny the claims and solider on to Election Day.
Somehow, candidate Thomas Leung – a waterfront resident – has avoided getting his head taken off thus far, outside of a little Facebook criticism every once and a while for previously advocating for a charter schoolÂ in town.
WNYU and their supporters view all this as desperate attempts by Roque and his cohorts to discredit them, while the mayor and his loyal following have pretty much taken the stance “the truth hurts” and Hudson politics is no holds barred.
As a result of the rubbing salt in the wound-style tactics, a number of anti-Roque forces have risen from the couch, while others that were previously in the streets have logged extra hours pounding the pavement.
Too little, too late? Quite possible, particularly since Roque hasn’t been dogged with any glaring mishaps that the average taxpayer would notice (like an astronomical tax increase, top administrators going to jail, etc).
However, the streets are going to now be much more tense, and crowded, than they initially were expected to be.
Therefore, the mayor and his inner circle will actually have to throw some combinations instead of sitting bit and landing a countershot every now and again ala Floyd Mayweather.
Not that they don’t like to sling some political leather, as allies of the administration had Wiley’s wife in the midst of a court battle about her residencyÂ last month and sicced Frank Ferreiro, once a bitter enemy of Roque,Â on Wiley on Â a multitude of occasions.
Wiley and the rest of WNY United have basically kept their word about running a clean campaign, although Wiley has gone on the offensive now and again, but the question is: can that still be effective in Hudson County?
Another x-factor is that although Roque has gotten the unabashed support of theÂ Hudson County Democratic OrganizationÂ leading up the race, includingÂ U.S. Rep. Albio SiresÂ (D-8), how many of the parties finest will be joining him for tomorrow’s inevitable slugfest?
As for the Juan Espinals, Patrick Cullens and Tony DeFinos of the world, they will inevitably make Wiley’s quest for the mayor’s throne more difficult, but even some of the most aggressive Roque supporters have begrudgingly admitted his running mate from 2011 is still a cause for concern.
Probability of Roque not among the five commissioners elected: 10%
Probability Wiley spoils the Roque sweep: 50%
According to many old school politicos, Sacco has been engaged in one of the bloodiest wars in Hudson County history as he looks to take out his long-time foe Larry Wainstein once and for all.
These two have done everything besides just start going at each other in a bare-knuckle brawl in the middle of the street, so it’s difficult to decide where to start.
For one thing, Wainstein went after Sacco and his (alleged) girlfriend’s family members when he filed a complaint with the state Department of Education alleging political patronage at its worst.
Seemed like a clean shot after Sacco stated that convicted felon Joe Mocco is running Wainstein’s campaign, advising the “Lower Taxes Time for Change” ticket to illegally promise people jobs.
Funny enough, when Vision Media veteran Paul Swibinski was on a warpath last week, he released a video of former Wainstein-endorsed board of education candidate Jose Canonico admitting that the infamous Mocco has “consulting value.”
Weeks earlier, Canonico had his criminal history unceremoniously revealed at a press conference organized by none other than Swibinski – who also went after all of Wainstein’s businesses for the sake of proving that he really lives in Franklin Lakes.
Of course, let’s not forget that Wainstein has been telling anyone who will listen that Sacco’s administration is rooted in a culture of corruption.
While that’s awfully hard to prove, the state Attorney General’s Office didÂ raid township hall the same day Sacco hosted his campaign kickoff, and later charged two parks and recreation department employees with falsifying timesheets a few weeks later.
Mario Blanch, essentially the attorney for the Wainstein campaign – one of the founding fathers of the North Bergen Concerned Citizens Group – is also suing Sacco and Vision media for defamationÂ for their (alleged?) catchy “Shady Bunch” ad.
Wainstein has also been uploading some really wild and zany videos on YouTube lately, like this one.
Political operative Rick Shaftan also got the Sacco team in hot water today after everyone in the media (myself included) suddenly realized Twitter is public and noticed he called First Lady Michelle Obama a “racist pig.”
That’s a relatively brief summation of what has happened in North Bergen in the past three months or so, therefore, it should be no surprise that state troopers will be present in both North Hudson municipalities tomorrow (though all signs point to these boys in blue earning their paychecks in North Bergen).
Expect hundreds, maybe close to a 1,000, campaign workers between the Sacco and Wainstein contingents tomorrow. This one isn’t for the weak of heart.
Probability Sacco not among the five commissioners elected: Less than 1%
Probability Wainstein spoils the Sacco sweep: 20%, which is really astronomical by North Bergen standards