Stack backs Guy for HCDO chair as feud with North Bergen intensifies, again


State Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack is backing Hudson County Executive Craig Guy as chair of the county Democratic party as his feud with his counterparts in North Bergen intensifies yet again.

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By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I think Anthony Vainieri is an embarrassment. I think he’s done nothing to build the party, contrary, I think he’s ripped the party apart. Craig is a guy who will unite the party and bring the party together, particularly in Jersey City,” Stack said over the phone.

“Craig’s a decent person, who I respect as the county leader. I don’t want to be the county leader, I don’t want to be the boss of Hudson County, I want to remain the state senator and mayor. When I ran for the chairmanship in ’18, that was a mistake … If you offered me the chairmanship today, I wouldn’t take it.”

Stack continued that while his main focus for the June 4th primary is getting First Lady Tammy Murphy elected to U.S. Senate, as well as securing the re-elections of U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8) and Hudson County Surrogate Tilo Rivas.

Vainieri, the current Hudson County Democratic Organization chair, responded in kind.

“We haven’t made any decisions yet on what we’re gonna do in the chair race, but my main focus is to elect Tammy Murphy to U.S. Senate, re-elect Rob. Menendez to Congress, and my good friend and former colleague from Union City, Tilo Rivas, as Hudson County surrogate. What happens after the primary, we’ll see. It’s unfortunate that Brian Stack is backing a candidate from a town he doesn’t represent instead of a candidate from a town he does represent,” he stated.

“The voters won’t forget that. I’ve done everything I can to keep the party together and he’s been the spoiler and everybody knows it. He didn’t think of me as an embarrassment when I was out campaigning for him in North Bergen for his Senate campaign, helping lead the team to victory. I’m happy he’s endorsing Craig, who is a really good friend of mine, I just know don’t know how long their love affair will last.”

He also questioned how he could become an embarrassment in just five months since he supported Stack in November, while Stack said it was “a joke” that anyone from North Bergen aided in his re-election.

Additionally, aside from the next HCDO chair, Stack insists that North Bergen leadership is more intent on pushing distractions like YouTuber Leonard Filipowski instead of the HCDO working together to win crucial elections.

Better known by his stage name Leroy Truth, who has filed a tort claim against Union City over an alleged assault, he has been heavily involved in Union City matters for about four months and has been steadfast in claiming that Stack and his administration are corrupt.

“It’s a crazy, crazy situation. Going to back to when I ran for the state Senate seat in 2007, North Bergen has hired disgruntled people to harass me and my family. I’m a big boy and I can take it, but when you attack my family and my staff, at some point it goes from 1st Amendment to harassment. And it’s all in the hands of [North Bergen Mayor] Nick Sacco,” Stack exclaimed.

He continued that this goes beyond political gamesmanship or maneuvering, asserting that he’s received seven death threats in the past month, which have all been referred to either the New Jersey State Police or state Attorney General’s Office.

“He admitted to me and Craig Guy that he hired people to work against me. I want to serve as the senator to help North Bergen. There’s no way they’ll work with me, I think it’s a level of jealousy, I think there’s a sense of racism here,” Stack asserted.

“I see the comments on Facebook from people around him like ‘we should call ICE’ and other things of that nature. There’s something about them where they’ll never accept me, but we know it’s them [backing Filipowski].”

He further stated that the meeting took place on at the HCDO headquarters about six months ago, which Sacco said indeed happened, but disputed just about everything else.

“I have never had anything to do with Leroy Truth and any suggestion to the contrary is a blatant lie. When someone is my enemy, they know they are my enemy because I deal with them directly, not by hiding behind a third party. While we did meet last year and discuss the fact that Brian and I have been on opposite sides in previous elections and worked with opposition candidates, I have never sent anyone into Union City and never said that I did,” Sacco replied.

“It’s clear that Mayor Stack is under a great amount of pressure and it’s unfortunate that he is displaying this kind of paranoia. He is creating unnecessary division in our county at a time when we should be focused on being united and working together to achieve our political goals.”

Filipowski could not be reached on his cell phone on Saturday, but he said “I am not. Would I tell you if I was?” when HudPost asked if North Bergen was involved with his investigations/activities in Union City.

Stack also said he could not elaborate on why he is certain North Bergen is behind Filipowski’s actions, citing active law enforcement investigations, but added that he believes there is a level of jealously still over the 32nd and 33rd Legislative Districts merging.

Just over two years ago, legislative redistricting placed both North Bergen and Union City in LD-33, and rather than Stack and Sacco slugging it out, they reached a compromise where Sacco endorsed Stack and got to pick an Assembly seat which ultimately went to then-Townhship Commissioner Julio Marenco, as HCV first reported.

“His buddy Joey Muniz was running around getting letters written not to get Jersey City divided into three and it backfired. He could’ve easily run for the seat, or appointed one of his cronies – that’s what they are they are a bunch of cronies. I would’ve rather that than deal with harassment on a daily basis though,” Stack added.

The bad blood between Stack and Sacco has been well documented for the better part of the last two decades, but signs of the feud reigniting in recent weeks has been apparent to invested political insiders.

In February, Sacco’s camp hinted that he may drop his support of former Gov. Jim McGreevey for Jersey City mayor in favor Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2), which was perceived as a shot across the bow since McGreevey is backed by Stack.

That evening, Filipowski attended McGreevey’s first Jersey City Town Hall, which ended in chaos after he got the microphone at the very end of the two-hour meeting, which had otherwise gone off without a hitch at that point.

An Hudson County politico, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said that party leaders should be concerned that a potential civil war could be unfolding as election season starts to heat up.

“This kind of erratic behavior by Stack going after a fellow mayor publicly is the absolute last thing that Tammy Murphy and Rob Menendez want to see right now. With both of them facing competitive primaries and relying on Hudson County to produce massive numbers in June, they need a united front and Stack isn’t giving it to them.”

In reply, Stack scoffed at the anonymous criticism.

“When the anonymous politico puts his name to it, I’ll respect him even more. And when the anonymous politico faces the attacks upon his family and his administration, his supporters, and his family like I have, then he can make a comment the way he did. Until then I think Mr. anonymous should release his name obviously,” he stated.

“It’s quite obvious that the anonymous politico is obviously aligned with North Bergen because that’s the one who should be called out for the attacks not the person responding to the attacks. It’s obvious that this person has not experienced the personal attacks upon his family, his administration, and his supporters like I have. When they experience it, then they can talk about it.”

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