A former North Bergen official who served jail time from the late 80s into the early 90s has been “a presence” for Larry Wainstein’s municipal campaign, NJ Globe reported.
“Most of the people don’t recognize Frank, the man standing behind a podium inside Wainstein’s headquarters training volunteers, but they should. Frank is Joe Mocco, who was once the undisputed political boss of North Bergen,” the statewide politics website wrote on Thursday.
Mocco, the brother of former township Mayor Peter Mocco, has long been linked to Wainstein’s operation to unseat incumbent Nick Sacco – who is also the state senator of the 32nd Legislative District.
Wainstein was the head of a slate that challenged the Sacco team in 2015 and he was defeated by a roughly 2-to-1 margin, though he quickly vowed to return to the political arena after the loss.
Speaking to NJ Globe, Wainstein didn’t deny that he knew Joe Mocco, but he did downplay his importance to the campaign.
“It was literally a different era. It has nothing to do with me,” Wainstein said. “This election is not about Joe Mocco. It’s about ending 35 years of corruption.
Predictably, the Sacco campaign sees it another way, based on the remarks released by Co-Campaign Manager Adamarys Alonso Galvin.
“Joe Mocco is one of the most notoriously corrupt politicians in New Jersey history and anyone who willingly works with him should be absolutely disqualified from public office,” she said.
The North Bergen municipal elections will be held on May 14th and it is certainly promising to be another slugfest.