Nicholas Sacco will not seek re-election to the New Jersey State Senate in 2023, ending a 30-year stint in Trenton and clearing the path for Brian P. Stack to keep his Senate seat after the hometowns of the two Hudson County titans were remapped into the same legislative district, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Sacco will endorse Stack, the mayor of Union City and Senate Judiciary chairman, for the 33rd district Senate seat, and Stack will support Sacco for re-election to the North Bergen mayoralty post he’s held since 1991 when he seeks re-election in 2023.
The accord means that Assemblyman Pedro Mejia (D-Secaucus) will lose his seat. He’ll be replaced by someone from North Bergen, with Sacco picking the candidate.
West New York will also keep an Assembly seat, but it’s not clear whether the candidate will be the six-term incumbent, Human Services Committee Chair Angelica Jimenez (D-West New York). Stack will make the West New York pick in consultation with Mayor Gabe Rodriguez and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.
Both Assembly seats are widely expected to be represented by Hispanics. North Bergen Commissioner Julio Marenco, a U.S. Navy submarine veteran and State Parole Board member, is considered a leading candidate to replace Mejia.
The deal to avoid a bruising Democratic primary came after an early dinner meeting between Sacco, Stack and Turner on Wednesday that included a discussion of the future of Hudson County politics.
Stack is seeking re-election as mayor of Union City this May. He’s been mayor since 2000 and won a State Senate seat in 2007 after two years in the Assembly.
Sacco first went to the State Senate in 1993 after the defeated State Sen. Thomas Cowan (D-Jersey City) in the Democratic primary with the support of Bob Menendez, then a freshman congressman, and Hudson County Democratic Chairman Bruce Walter, the mayor of Union City.
Cowan, an Operating Engineers union official who spent six years in the Assembly and ten in the Senate, lost to Sacco by 7,046 votes, 67%-33%.
Increases in Hudson County’s population over the last decade and a decision by the Apportionment Commission to avoid splitting Jersey City into three different districts led to Sacco and Stack being placed in the same district.
Jimenez, one of the most vulnerable Assembly incumbents following the approval of the new map last week, first went to the Trenton in 2011 after West New York was redistricted from the 33rd district to the 32nd.
Mejia became the state’s first Dominican American lawmaker in 2018 when he won a special election convention after former Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) resigned to head the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.