Murphy, Booker, Scutari, & Menendezes join HCDO in backing 7 candidates for June primary


Gov. Phil Murphy (D), U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), New Jersey Senate President Nick Scutari (D-22), and U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8) joined the county Democrats in backing seven June primary candidates.

“When I looked at the lineup led by two dear friends, Brian Stack, Raj Mukherji, invited by the chairman, with this all-star lineup here, how could you say no to being here this morning?,” Gov. Phil Murphy said on the steps of the William J. Brennan Courthouse.

” … Hudson County is the heartbeat of the State of New Jersey: as it goes, so goes New Jersey. As the Democrats in Hudson County goes, so goes New Jersey.”

The presser, led by Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Anthony Vainieri, saw hundreds in attendance to back Craig Guy for county executive (even though his endorsements were clear at his campaign kickoff), along with the selections in the 32nd and 33rd Legislative Districts, respectively.

“I want to tell you that I’m so happy and pleased to be here today and support them [Mukherji and Stack] and all of these great Hudson County representatives,” Scutari said.

“I’ve seen the hard work, dedication, and leadership these candidates bring to their communities. I’m confident they will continue to bring people together and fight for policies that empower New Jersey families,” Booker added.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) announced in February that he’d be seeking the Senate seat in the new LD-32, which will consist of Hoboken and the Journal Square, Heights, and Downtown sections of Jersey City.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, and state Senator Brian Stack (D-33), the latter being a longtime legislative running mate of Mukherji, all were quick to endorse him.

“I remember I gave a speech, ended, and saw Steve Fulop [and said]: how’d I do? He said you got off one thing that made me proud.’ I said ‘what’s that?’ ‘The stage,'” Mukherji joked.

” … The hundreds and millions of dollars of rent relief, the tenants on this street who were able to stay in their homes and avoid homelessness because of his [Stack’s] efforts, avoid utility shutoffs, the advocacy for public education in urban cities communities that are the lifeblood of America: look around you, this is Hudson County, this diversity, this is a microcosm of what makes America beautiful.”

In a complimentary fashion, he also said that Stack “is an extraterrestrial, he is not normal” due to his tenacious work ethic.

Joining Mukherji’s ticket are Jessica Ramirez, an attorney and Jersey City Planning Board commissioner, and John Allen, a close ally of Mayor Ravi Bhalla who recently left City Hall in anticipation of his Assembly run.

“As a young girl from the mountains of Kai, Puerto Rico, while sitting in English as a second language classes, never in my wildest dreams did I think I was going to be a lawyer, let alone running for politics,” lamented Ramirez.

As for the new LD-33, legislative redistricting infamously drew Stack and state Senator Nick Sacco (D-32), also the North Bergen mayor, into the same terrain for the first time back in February.

From there, it didn’t take long for cooler heads to prevail, as Sacco endorsed Stack for Senate, and as part of their agreement, North Bergen politicos would be able to select one of Stack’s Assembly running mates, as HCV first reported.

Therefore, North Bergen Revenue and Finance Commissioner Julio Marenco will try his hand as a state legislator, while West New York Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez – who worked on Albio Sires’ staff when he was the Assembly speaker – will round out the ticket.

“Today, to be able to stand here, before you, before my family that is with me always, and to have the ability and the honor to announce that I will be running for the New Jersey State Assembly will again be a privilege and my honor,” stated Rodriguez.

Marenco recalled that his first foray into politics came when he was attending Seton Hall Law School, which he coincidentally attended with Ramirez, and got an internship with Sacco.

“This is a powerful senator, mayor at the time, who was helping make a county chairman at the time. And he took the time out to meet with a broke law student … a 2.0 law student by the way, and gave me an internship without knowing [me]. That’s how all these mayors have been in power, stay in power, and keep Hudson County moving forward.”

At the tail end of the 90-minute program, Bob Menendez was a house of fire when he got on the microphone, beginning with a rally cry.

“Partisan or Catholic! Baptist or Gentile! Hispanic or Asian! Hudson County is your home and this is your Democratic party!,” he said to a standing ovation from the crowd.

” … I want to start off by thanking Chairman Vainieri, he has shown the nation what Republicans need to learn in Washington: This is how you lead, this is how you bring people together in common cause. Chairman, congratulations.”

He also said that the Congressman, his son, didn’t acknowledge the U.S. Senators on hand, joking that it takes both Houses to get a bill to the president’s desk.

In another comedic anecdote, New Jersey’s senior senator noted that “he wore his Sunday best on a Saturday” after it was pointed out that he wore a full suit and tie while others were wearing sneakers, such as county executive candidate Craig Guy.

Guy brought his daughter, Ashley, and his grandson, Connor, onto the stage before he thanked the outgoing county executive, Tom DeGise, for his two decades of service, as many others on hand did.

He vowed to continue the progress in the county, which he has been a part of as DeGise’s chief of staff, ranging from public safety, academia, and development.

At the moment, Guy is the only one of the seven candidates endorsed today that has a declared June 6th primary challenger, with progressive activist Eleana Little announcing a county executive run last month.

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  1. Always always read articles fully to the end for this nugget from Assembly-33 Julio Marenco about North Bergen Mayor Sacco (not there).

    “This is a powerful senator, mayor at the time, who was helping make a county chairman at the time. And he took the time out to meet with a broke law student … a 2.0 law student by the way, and gave me an internship without knowing [me]. That’s how all these mayors have been in power, stay in power, and keep Hudson County moving forward.”

    Also why admit your mediocrity as a Latinx “a 2.0 law student” at a mediocre law school (Seton Hall). Things I sure wouldn’t say.

  2. This cuts deep down in the Hearts of me and my family every time I see the same horrible,liers,cheating,greedy, No integrity,money hungry and desperate for power,dishonest politicians.They have brought harm and/or danger to me and my family, This is a smack in our face, Because Tom Degise have refused to meet with me to resolve this matter and he gets to walk away with his pension while my family sufferers! I need Justice to be served for my family 🙏🏾 Our lives matter.