Former Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, ex-Ward B Councilman Chris Gadsden and local teachers union operative Kristen Zadroga Hart are “in the mix” to challenge state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack for chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, sources said.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“This isn’t the popular vote, this is strictly about Democratic committee seats,” one source supporting Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise for re-election said in defense of the short list.
“Yea, Healy, Hart and Gadsden are in the mix.”
Stack, who has been campaigning aggressively to run the HCDO, seemed like a shoe-in for the post since late last year, however, that all changed when he and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced they wouldn’t back DeGise for another term.
Meanwhile, a group led by U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) and state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco is pushing for DeGise to stay.
Given that the county executive race isn’t until 2019, it was inevitable Stack would face a challenge on June 12th.
Healy, who lost to Fulop in 2013, has largely remained behind the scenes in recent memory, though has recently shown up at a few political functions in 2018.
Then there’s Gadsden, who came up short against Fulop’s candidate in November, Mira Prinz-Arey, a vice principal at Lincoln High School who remains active in the community, attending open forums and council meetings fairly regularly.
Finally, Hart, a local teacher and organizer for the Jersey City Education Association, challenged Assemblywoman Angela McKnight in June and lost decisively.
Despite that fact, she has remained active in the community, both civically and politically – she was just spotted at Sacco’s annual brunch fundraiser on Sunday.
DeGise recently mailed out a preemptive strike against Stack, criticizing his endorsement of former Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2013 and hinted that he would be facing a challenge in June.
“Team DeGise is seeking a Jersey City candidate because that would lead to a clear Jersey City vs. Union City fight for the chairmanship,” another source said.
The Jersey City Democratic Committee has over 370 seats, so splitting the vote in Jersey City will be the only way to have a puncher’s chance against Stack, who is guaranteed to have to start out with 74 votes from Union City – granted Sacco will likely deliver 78 votes to whoever the challenger is.
While Hudson County has over 800 committee seats represented across its 12 municipalities, Team DeGise believes that 300 may be the magic number.
“300 will probably do it, 350 is a guaranteed victory,” a separate pro-DeGise source said.
Fulop said at a fundraiser earlier this month that he hoped other Hudson mayors stick to their word and support Stack to run the county democratic organization, but that apparently won’t be happening.
With the Bayonne mayoral contest just a week-and-a-half away, and their Dem committee good for 102 committee votes, it’s not likely Team DeGise announces their candidate until after May 8th.
Gadsden, Hart and Healy did not immediately return inquiries seeking comment.