Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack will not be supporting Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise for re-election, they announced in a joint statement.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“With regard to Hudson County’s next County Executive, we wish to state that we are seeking a new vision that is more closely aligned with our governmental ideals,” the two mayors said.
“While we are grateful for County Executive DeGise’s service, we look forward working with new county government leadership that will complement shifts related to a growing and changing population, as well as an increased regional influence. Consequently, we will be supporting a new candidate for that office.”
With the support of U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, as well as then-gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, DeGise kicked off his 2019 re-election campaign in June of last year.
In the midst of talk that DeGise may be replaced, campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski said last month that they were not concerned about the incumbent being replaced by a candidate backed by Fulop and Stack.
While DeGise, Fulop, Stack and state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco seemed to be in agreement with sticking with the current county exec through 2023 after a sit down meeting in December, obviously something significant has changed.
DeGise endorsed Fulop for re-election in February 2017 and now likely getting kicked off the Hudson County Democratic Organization line will surely cause tensions with Sacco.
Jersey City Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2), who has a good relationship with Fulop and Stack, has long been rumored to covet the Hudson County Executive post, while state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) has also occasionally been rumored to succeed DeGise.
In a statement, DeGise said he was “disappointed but not surprised” about Stack and Fulop’s decision, but he still fully intends to seek re-election.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by Mayor Fulop and Mayor Stack, but it does nothing to change the fact that I’m running for re-election as County Executive in 2019. I have run and won seven elections in Jersey City and five countywide elections, and I’m confident that Hudson County residents know my record and will continue to give me their support,” DeGise said.
Swibinski added that DeGise “has never backed down from a fight” and while Fulop will not support him, only DeGise will be on the ballot next year.
Moments ago, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and West New York Mayor Felix Roque said they are on the same page as Fulop and Stack.
“We look forward to joining Senator Stack and Mayor Fulop in seeking a new vision for Hudson County government leadership,” Bhalla and Roque said in a joint statement.
“We will work alongside both of them, as we seek a new Hudson County Executive.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comments from DeGise, as well as Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and West New York Mayor Felix Roque.