Gov. Phil Murphy (D) joined the Hudson County Democratic Organization in backing Craig Guy for county executive as Amy DeGise protesters assembled across the street.
“There is no one that I know who is more prepared to be the county executive in this county, and frankly any county, than Craig Guy. He has my unequivocal support: he is going to be an extraordinary county executive, but we first have to get this guy elected,” Murphy said at the podium outside the Liberty House restaurant.
“So on behalf of the great mayors here, legislators, especially the speaker, to the county commissioners, to all the elected officials and to everybody out here who bleeds Hudson County … as Hudson County, so goes the Democratic party in our state.”
Also joining Murphy among the HCDO mainstays were Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19), Senate President Nick Scutari, Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill, and Middlesex County Chair Kevin McCabe.
Around the time Murphy handed the microphone over to Guy, the chief of staff to outgoing County Executive Tom DeGise, chanting could be heard nearby and it wasn’t from the 500 or so on hand at the event.
Upon further examination, there were about 50 protesters angry that no one on hand, in particular Murphy, had called for the resignation of Jersey City Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise over a July 19th hit-and-run.
“Murphy have a spine! Tell her to resign! If she won’t go, we’ll shut it down!,” the protesters shouted for around an hour.
Several on hand, including Ricky Ricardo Rojas, Hector Oseguera, Nick Zurawski, Laura Lithgow, and Gary Spingarn had previously called on Amy DeGise to resign at the August 17th and/or September 8th Jersey City Council meetings.
Although their was another public session last night, they decided to take their cause directly to the governor. When leaving the venue, Murphy did not respond to questions from HCV as he entered an SUV.
While Murphy is typically not a regular presence in Hudson, the HCDO gave $410,000 to the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in about a four-and-half month time frame to bolster his re-election last year.
Back at the podium, Guy, typically a behind the scenes operative, acknowledged kind words from the likes of Tom DeGise, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, and Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, along with state Senators Brian Stack and Nick Sacco – also the mayors of Union City and North Bergen, respectively.
Running under the slogan of “The right Guy with proven leadership,” the frontrunner to replace Tom DeGise, recalled working on efforts such as public education, parks and open space, and economic development.
“Hudson County is New Jersey’s economic and cultural growth engine, and I’m looking forward to meeting people from across the county over the next nine months to share my vision and talk about how we can keep Hudson County moving forward,” he said in a statement after the event.
“There’s no one who has a better understanding of the office and how we can use county government to benefit the people of Hudson County than Craig, and I’m proud to endorse him,” added Tom DeGise.
Others who stood on stage with Guy included HCDO Chair Anthony Vainieri, also the board of commissioner chair who served as the emcee, Sheriff Frank Schillari, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, Kearny Mayor Al Santos, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt, East Newark Mayor Dina Grillo, Dumont Mayor Andrew LaBruno, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, Assemblyman Will Sampson (D-31), County Commissioners Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Anthony Romano (D-5), and Caridad Rodriguez (D-7), along with former Gov. Jim McGreevey.
Evidently, Guy, who raised over six figures at the event, certainly won’t have to worry about any intraparty warfare this time around as the “line” candidate with unanimous support.
While he will have many advantages at his disposal, he is still expected to face a progressive challenger in the June primary.