State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco called leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy “our next governor” as the two expressed mutual admiration at the annual mayor’s ball at the Venetian catering hall.
” … To all of the elected officials, to the county executive, I’m incredibly honored by your support, by our friendship, by our common bond in policy: let’s try to make this a better state. I’m thrilled to be here,” Murphy said when recognizing his endorsement from the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
The former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, who said he was “seriously” considering a run for governor when he attended Sacco’s mayoral victory party in May 2015, explained the relationship he’s built with the Hudson County mainstay.
“I started going to North Bergen several years ago and several things attracted me: Number 1, I started having conversations with the man to my left, as deep conversations about education as I’ve had with anyone in this state,” explained Murphy.
Sacco also serves as the director of secondary and elementary education in the North Bergen school district.
“Another thing that startled me was the quality of life. It’s an extraordinary community, Hudson is a county that works. I called it the other day a heart beat of this state and the heart beats no stronger than it does in North Bergen. Witness this evening, which is extraordinary.”
As usual, the annual Sacco mayoral ball was jam packed, with over a 1,000 people in attendance that ranged from elected officials, politicos, police officers, teachers and essentially the who’s who of the New Jersey political arena.
When the man of the hour grabbed the microphone, he explained that it was a priority for the vast majority of the power brokers in the state to get a Democrat back to Drumthwacket.
“It became important to North Bergen and Hudson County and the State of New Jersey to elect a man who cares for us and understands our needs. Tonight, we just endorsed that man who will go on to become the governor and take the state out of the doldrums that we are in right now to a future where we belong,” said Sacco.
“I thank him for being here, he’s been here in the past, but tonight he becomes our leader as we move forward. So Phil Murphy, congratulations on becoming the next governor, next year,” he added.
Speaking one-on-one with Hudson County View, Sacco called Murphy “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I look at this like a light at the end of the tunnel: we’re here now, we’re moving forward, we know we can make New Jersey great we have the candidate to do it and the candidate is Phil Murphy and he’s here with me now.”
The fundraiser marked the end of a truly spectacular eight day-period for Murphy, which began last Wednesday when Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (who showed up for the cocktail hour) unexpectedly decided not to run for governor and seek re-election.
Then yesterday, hours before the former Goldman Sachs executive earned endorsements from Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Monmouth, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex Counties, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) followed Fulop’s lead and decided to run for his Senate seat again.
Murphy told us that garnering massive support from the top Democrats in the state in such a short period of time, eight months ahead of the June 2017 primary election, has been a humbling experience.
“We take nothing for granted. First of all, I’m incredibly grateful for the support that we’ve received this week, it’s overwhelming in many respects,” Murphy stated.
“But I also have to say that we wake up tomorrow morning and put one foot in front of the other, we want to continue to be going to the voters, talking with them, hearing their concerns and every single day trying to come up with the game plan to make New Jersey as good as it can be.”
While Murphy has all but secured the Democratic nomination for governor, he said he welcomes challenges from state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20) and Assemblyman John Wisniewksi (D-19) – who have both still expressed an interest in seeking the state’s top elected office, despite Murphy recently steamrolling the competition.
“I hope they do [decide to run]. I think a contested primary where we’re discussing real issues and discussing respective visions for the state is good for our party and good for New Jersey. So I hope wish them both well and if they come into the race I would welcome that,” he said.
The nearly impossible to remember laundry list of guests in attendance included U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8), Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (both D-32), state Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (both D-31), state Senator Richard Codey (D-27), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Statewide/Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie, Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, West New York Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo, Sue Colacurcio and Margarita Guzman, all four North Bergen commissioners, Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Bill O’Dea (D-2), Anthony Romano (D-5) and Anthony Vainieri (D-8), Guttenberg council members John Habermann, Wayne Zitt and Monica Fundora, former state Senate Majority Leader Bernie Kenny, West New York BOE Trustees Adam Parkinson, David Morel and Jonathan Castaneda, Jersey City Democratic Organization Chairman Shawn “Sully” Thomas-Sullivan, Hoboken Democratic Committee Secretary Joe Branco, former West New York Mayor Sal Vega, among many, many others.