Hudson Dems rally for Menendez, who takes aim at Hugin, at annual HCDO gala

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The overwhelming majority of the top elected Democrats in Hudson County came out strong in support of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who had choice words for his Republican opponent, Bob Hugin, at the annual fall gala for the Hudson County Democratic Organization. 

“We need to ask ourselves: where would we be without Senator Menendez? Whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s DREAMers, whether it’s national security, or infrastructure where we stood together in Hudson County the other day,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in front of a crowd of about 300 people at the Liberty House Restaurant last night.

“New Jersey’s interests remain dramatically impaired. And if that weren’t enough, look at the circus around the New Jersey Supreme Court nomination. And what would happen, the dire result, without having this guy representing us in Washington, alongside Senator Booker.”

The packed house featured a number of electeds that typically don’t leave their home base, including state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack – who made it clear that he harbors no hard feelings after Amy DeGise bested him for HCDO chair in June.

“I know a few months ago that we had a family disagreement, and that’s exactly what it was, I congratulated the new chair, Amy DeGise: I wish her success, I look forward to working together,” Stack said.

“When I sought the chairmanship, it was about producing a big vote and there’s no one that I want to produce a bigger vote for, and whose more deserving, than Senator Bob Menendez.”

Menendez, seeking his third term in the November 6th general election, faces a stiff test in former Celgene CEO Bob Hugin, who has already dumped millions of dollars into the race to attack the incumbent over his corruption trial that ended in a hung jury last year.

If last night was any indication, the Hudson Dems, are up for the challenge.

“This is a real crossroads. We’re facing a president who [if] unleashed will destroy this country. We have one job to do: is to make sure it doesn’t happen,” exclaimed state Senator (D-33)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco.

“What’s going on right now is an attempt for a person to say ‘I’m from Union City and I want to be your Senator’ and it’s a fraud. You can be born somewhere, but you’re not of that place.”

After being introduced by Amy DeGise, Menendez didn’t hesitate to tee on Hugin for a massive lawsuit settlement by Celgene that happened under his watch.

“My Republican opponent has paid a $280 million settlement for falsely pursuing a drug that leaves cancer patients at risk and defrauding Medicare. And he said ‘the more valuable the drug, the more I should charge for it.’ Well, Bob Hugin will never be on our side and he will never get to the United State Senate.”

A campaign spokeswoman for Hugin did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Other dignitaries in attendance included Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti, Angela McKnight, state Senator Sandra Cunningham (all D-31), Angelica Jimenez, Pedro Mejia (both D-32), as well as Raj Mukherji and Annette Chaparro (both D-33), County Executive Tom DeGise, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Harrison Mayor James Fife, Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Kearny Mayor Al Santos, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner Hoboken council members Mike DeFusco and Tiffanie Fisher, Jersey City council members Rolando Lavarro, Joyce Watterman, Denise Ridley, Mira Prinz-Arey, James Solomon, Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Bill O’Dea (D-2), Jerry Walker (D-3), Anthony Romano (D-5) and Anthony Vainieri (D-8), West New York Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo, Gabriel Rodriguez and Margarita Guzman, West New York Dem Committee Chair Jonathan Castaneda, HCDO Executive Director Susan Ragheb, among many, many others.

The full program, which streamed live on our Facebook page, can be viewed below: