Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop continued to focus on replacing County Executive Tom DeGise and pushing for state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack to be the next Hudson County Democratic Organization chairman during a fundraiser last night.
“We have to recognize that there’s an opportunity bigger than Jersey City, at the county level, that impacts us every single day here,” Fulop said to about 150 people at the Zeppelin Hall Biergarten last night.
“So over the next year, you’re gonna see that same tenacity and that same commitment that we saw in 2012 and 2013 from me and I’m gonna be asking you to do the same, because I recognize, and I hope you recognize, that if you change the county, everybody is Jersey City is gonna be better off.”
Just under a month ago, Fulop and Stack announced they would not be supporting DeGise’s re-election, both expressing they feel it’s time for a change (DeGise has served as the head of county government since 2002).
“Rest assured, I have no interest in running for county executive, so take that off the board, but I do have an interest in a better government that is more functional and responsive to our needs here in Jersey City,” Fulop said, reiterating what he said on Hudson County Review Live on March 9th.
However, that election is not until June 2019, so Fulop reminded those in attendance not to take the vote for HCDO chair in June lightly.
“We’re gonna need you to be involved to make sure that Brian Stack is elected as the next chairman to represent that county. This is the most important thing that we can do over the next two-and-a-half months.”
Speaking one-on-one with Hudson County View, Fulop said that “I think that the county has an opportunity to do better,” opting not to get personal, despite the fact that DeGise has thrown some heavy shots his way in recent weeks.
He also said that Stack “has shown tenacity and commitment to working for the people” who is also capable of organizing the county “and taking them to the next level.”
When asked if he had any concern that the team of Hudson Dems still supporting DeGise, led by U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) and state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, would run someone to challenge Stack for HCDO chair, Fulop said he’s hopeful that no one goes back on their word.
“A lot of those people made their commitment to Brian Stack … the difference with Tom DeGise is that when Tom DeGise asked for support, we didn’t commit to it. We said to him ‘let’s think about it’ and he said ‘if I don’t have the mayor’s support I’m probably not gonna run,'” the mayor explained.
“The difference with Brian is they all committed to Brian. They all said ‘we’re with you for the chairman[ship].’ And if they renege on that, I think that’s a reflection on their personalities, a reflection on their commitment and a reflection on who they are as people and all the more reason why change is necessary.”
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who has also said he wants to see DeGise replaced, is another mayor firmly backing Stack to run the HCDO.
A spokesman for the DeGise campaign did not immediately return an email seeking comment, but the county executive told us early last month that he did not foresee anyone challenging Stack as HCDO chair.
Officials in attendance included Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Council President Rolando Lavarro, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2), HCDO Executive Director John Minella, Jersey City Democratic Organization Chair Barbara Stamato, North Hudson Sewerage Authority Commissioner Tony Soares, among many others.