Democrats from across the state, of course largely consisting of Hudson County officials, made the annual trip to the Venetian catering hall in Garfield to show their support for state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco.
“We’re all here for the same reason tonight: to support one of Hudson County’s finest leaders because he continuously supports all of us – whether it’s in your community, of like myself, he supports our organization through and through,” Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise said.
Surely over a 1,000, perhaps as many as 2,000, in attendance were clearly on the same page as DeGise, decked out in their Sunday best (if not better) and were eager to eat, drink and dance the night away at the lavish Bergen County destination.
Still riding high over a decisive May victory where Sacco was elected to his 10th term in office (his eighth as mayor), at least one longtime friend of the state senator recalled many years ago when the political landscape was very different.
“Very briefly, back in the early 1990s we had the privilege and honor and being installed into [Legislative] District 32. He had a primary against then Senator Tom Cowan. While some people though initially, not all, but some, though it could be impossible,” recalled Bergen County Democratic Organization Chair Paul Juliano.
“And we won with an enormous margin and we joined him and he’s been a friend and a mentor since that time.”
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, who is up for re-election in November and has known Sacco since he first took over his post in 2001, praised Sacco for sealing their friendship with a handshake and always being someone he can count on.
Finally, Sacco took the podium as “Eye of the Tiger” blared over the speakers, drawing a big reaction from the crowd.
“I guess that song signifies that we never lost it, it was our song back in 1993 … because in North Bergen, we all have the eye of the tiger, we never back off,” he noted before advising everyone to get back to enjoying themselves for the evening.
While 2023 is light years away by Hudson County political standards, Sacco has already filed paperwork with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission declaring that he’ll run for mayor again in four years.
He state senate seat is also up in 2021, so even under the most dire circumstances, it currently appears to be a safe bet that Sacco will be on the ballot at least one more time before he calls it a career.
Other dignitaries in attendance included state Senator Dick Codey (D-27), state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36), Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), Angelica Jimenez, and Pedro Mejia (both D-32), East Newark Mayor-Elect Dina Grilo, Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt, Harrison Mayor James Fife, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Kearny Mayor Al Santos, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, West New York Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez, Freeholders Anthony Vainieri (D-8) and Caridad Rodriguez (D-7), Guttenberg Councilman John Habermann, North Bergen Commissioners Julio Marenco, Frank Gargiulo, Allen Pascual and Hugo Cabrera, West New York Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo, Margarita Guzman and Victor Barrera, West New York Board of Education Trustees David Morel and Jonathan Castaneda, among many, many others.
Political operative Joey Muniz served as the emcee.