State Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack had a taste for the theatrical as he and Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy were greeted by around 2,000 supporters as they entered Schuetzen Park to “We Will Rock You” by Queen.
The theme song was about as appropriate as it gets for Stack and Murphy, who will both be looking to run up the scoreboard during the June 6 Democratic primary – where Stack is seeking re-election in the state Senate.
Predictably, he has no challenger on the ballot, but that hasn’t stopped him from running as aggressive a campaign as ever, working his Union City headquarters from a.m. to p.m. on a daily basis.
While addressing the crowd, the North Hudson power broker said there is still a lot to accomplish in Union City and the 33rd Legislative District.
“We have made a lot of progress in the last year in Union City and the 33rd, but we still have a lot of work to do. And what I commit to you: it will always be about the people! It will always be about you and I promise you that from the bottom of my heart!,” exclaimed Stack.
Although he enthusiastically crossed party lines to endorse Gov. Chris Christie (R) back in February 2013, Stack had no problem hyping up Murphy as the best choice for New Jersey voters this time around.
“There’s a person who cares about the average person in the street in New Jersey. There’s a person that cares about the urban areas in our state, he cares about our entire state and he’ll take the time that’s necessary to show the people how much he cares,” Stack said.
“But you know who he cares about the most? He cares about the poor and that’s something that’s very important to me: the hard-working poor that we have throughout our communities.”
Murphy, who praised Stack as both an elected official and an event organizer, took some light shots at Christie before touting several of his campaign promises with Election Day right around the corner.
“It’s time for a new governor of the State of New Jersey. We’ve had enough folks. We have to get this state growing again. We have to get this state fair again. We have to get this state standing for the right things again. And no place will benefit more than Hudson County,” stated Murphy.
The former U.S. Ambassador to Germany reiterated that he wants a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage, earned sick leave, a child-dependent caregiver tax credit, equal pay for women and making college more affordable – among many other potential policies.
Murphy, also a former Goldman Sachs executive, added that he had no problem standing tall against President Donald Trump (R) if necessary.
“And all the while, while we’re making up for all the damage that Gov. Chris Christie has done in this state, we will have to deal with a president who is hostile to us. An administration that wants to come in here and break up families, use DACA data against Dreamers,” Murphy said.
“Wants to use our state and local police to stop and frisk people unlawfully. So I want you to know something in particular: I will be a governor with a steel backbone, I will stand up to President Trump and I will say ‘Mr. President, you will not do that in the State of New Jersey.”
Murphy faces game Democratic challengers in state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20), Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) and former U.S. Treasury Department official Jim Johnson, but is still the odds on favorite to win.
Additionally, the stage, crowded with many members of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, produced many interesting optics – beyond the tons of people thrilled to be crammed into the venue like sardines – for political observers.
While Stack addressed the crowd, Murphy stood next to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop in one of the few instances where the two have been in close proximity ever since Fulop endorsed Murphy back in September, also announcing he’d seek re-election.
When Murphy got a hold of the microphone, he stood in between Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) and the mayor of the Mile Square City, Dawn Zimmer.
Zimmer has been one of Murphy’s closest allies in the state, still riding high from a well-attended fundraiser co-hosted by Murphy last month – despite 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco officially entering the mayoral contest.
On the other hand Romano, who is seeking another term as freeholder on June 6, may not have a close personal relationship with the gubernatorial hopeful, but his campaign operation hasn’t been shy about collecting signatures or delivering literature for Murphy.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), state Senators Sandra Cunningham (D-31) and Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti, Angela McKnight (both D-31), Raj Mukherji and Annette Chaparro (both D-33), Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Bill O’Dea (D-2), E. Junior Maldonado (D-4) and Caridad Rodriguez (D-7), Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, Union City Commissioners Lucio Fernandez, Tilo Rivas, Maryury Martinetti and Celin Valdivia, former state Senate Majority Leader Bernie Kenny, among many others.