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Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sires trounces Oseguera

Seven-term incumbent wins renomination with little trouble

By Nikita Biryukov, July 07 2020 10:36 pm

Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York) defeated progressive primary challenger Hector Oseguera to win the Democratic nomination in the eighth congressional district Tuesday, the New Jersey Globe projects.

Sires got 76% of the vote, while Oseguera got 21%. Will Sheehan, a third candidate seeking the Democratic nod, got 3%.

“I would like to thank Democrats from across Hudson, Essex, Union and Bergen counties for their support in this unprecedented election. I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the people of the eighth District,” Sires said. “I pledge to keep fighting for the values we all share, like expanding affordable health care coverage, reforming our broken immigration system, taking on the NRA and always standing up for our working families. ”

Oseguera, a House candidate styled after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), ran against Sires on a platform of stamping out corruption that saw Hudson County Democrats enter a frenzy to avoid the sort of upset victory that propelled Ocasio-Cortez into Congress.

After ignoring the challenger for months during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Democrats in the county began an uncharacteristically-concerted campaign of endorsements boosting Sires, a seven-term congressman with close ties to powerful New Jersey Democrats like U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-North Bergen).

Beginning in mid-June, Sires gained almost daily endorsements from Democrats and labor groups in the eighth district and state.

Gov. Phil Murphy, who is closely aligned with Hudson County Democratic Chairwoman Amy DeGise, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise each endorsed Sires in the final weeks of the campaign.

The wave of endorsements spawned some speculation that Hudson Democrats were concerned that Oseguera might pull an upset victory in a Democratic stronghold known for the effectiveness of its political machine.

The primary race there sometimes became combative. At one point, Sires and Oseguera traded jabs over their once belonging to the Republican Party.

Both candidates saw lackluster fundraising.

As of June 17, Sires had $115,243.27 in his warchest after his fundraising slowed to a trickle between April 1 and June 17, according to pre-primary filings submitted to the Federal Election Commission.

Oseguera, by contrast, reported having $16,998.42 banked.

Former U.S. Navy Seal intelligence office Will Sheehan also sought the nomination.

Sires will face Republican Jason Mushnick in November, though the district is a safe win for Democrats.

“I am grateful to my many supporters in this election who I am proud to work with every day on important issues for our state, from Governor Murphy, Senator Menendez and Senator Booker, to all of the elected officials and Democratic leaders from throughout the district who worked together as a team to achieve this tremendous victory, to the many outstanding labor unions and advocacy groups who stood with me,” the congressman said. “Now, it’s time for all Democrats to come together to re-elect Senator Booker and restore true leadership to the White House by electing Joe Biden as our next President.”

Vote tallies do not include uncounted mail-in ballots received by Tuesday, late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday, provisional ballots that won’t be counted for at least a week and mail-in ballots that were disqualified but may be cured at a later date.

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