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State Sen. Brian Stack, the mayor of Union City

Brian Stack is the Human Turnout Machine

More than 1/4 of total votes cast in Hudson County last week came out of Union City

By David Wildstein, June 10 2019 12:18 am

Brian Stack turned out 28% of registered Democrats in Union City for the 2019 primary, despite the lack of any competitive races.

GOTV is Stack’s currency and it’s one of the things that make him a formidable force in New Jersey politics.  Stack, the Union City mayor and state senator from the 33rd district, regularly prevents his organization from atrophying by kicking his turnout operation into high gear at least twice a year.

More than one-quarter of all votes cast in the primary – 25.9% — came out of Stack’s Union City organization, even though Union City makes up just 10.7% of the total registered Democrats in Hudson County.

In last week’s primary, Union City cast 6,085 votes in the Democratic primary for Hudson County Executive where incumbent Tom DeGise won countywide with 87% of the vote and with 20,737 votes.

The only Hudson municipality that exceeded Union City’s turnout was tiny East Newark, where the first contested mayoral election in sixteen years drove a 53% turnout.  Still, just 27.1% of Democrats in East Newark cast their ballots in the county executive race.

East Newark and a council primary in Harrison Ward 2 were the only contested local elections in Hudson County this cycle.

Jersey City, the second largest city in the state, cast 6,466 votes last week.  That’s an 8% turnout, and just 381 votes more than Union City.  Jersey City has 81,136 registered Democrats and Union City has 21,866.

North Bergen turned out 3,920 Democrats, the third highest in the county with an 18% turnout.

Combined, Union City, North Bergen and Jersey city comprised 70.2% all votes cast in the 2019 Democratic primary.

Four other big towns had paltry turnout numbers:

* Bayonne: 1,560 votes – 7.8% of 20,095 Democrats.
* Hoboken: 1,541 votes – 8.9% of 17,390 Democrats.
* Kearny: 678 votes – 7.4% of 9,134 Democrats.
* West New York: 887 votes – 6.6% of 12,462 Democrats.

Turnout was light in the other towns as well:

* Guttenberg: 375 votes – 11.1% of 3,386 total Democrats.
* Harrison: 679 votes — 14.7% of 4,609 total Democrats.
* Secaucus: 493 votes — 8% turnout of 6,146 Democrats.
* Weehawken: 887 votes – 12.5% of 4,824 Democrats

Two Assembly incumbents in the 32nd district, Angelica Jimenez (D-West New York) and Pedro Mejia (D-Secaucus), crushed two challengers with a combined 86% of the vote.  Five of the seven Hudson municipalities in their district provided turnout of under 15%.   In East Newark, where turnout was jacked up because of a hotly contested mayoral primary, the 334 votes cast in the race for mayor was significantly higher than the votes received by the Assembly candidates; it appears that more than 40% of local voters skipped the Assembly race entirely.

Stack delivered a 95% win for DeGise in Union City – 5,768 to 310 – a show of good faith that he has made peace with a county executive who sought to replace fifteen months ago.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, the titular head of the local Democratic Party, appeared to again sit on his hands in the Democratic primary this year.  DeGise won a significant 81% of the vote in Jersey City against Patricia Waiters, an unknown challenger with no money and no discernible support.

DeGise received 588 more votes out of Union City than it did in Jersey City, even though Jersey City has 59,281 more Democratic primary voters.  DeGise ran almost 14 percentage points better in Union City than he did in Jersey City.

Right now, there are only three New Jerseyans who can turn 10,000+ general election votes by the shear force of their personal endorsement: Stack, North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, and Rabbi Shmuel Blech of the Lakewood Vaad.

In 2018, Bob Menendez received 13,447 votes in Union City and 13,204 in North Bergen – both significant turnouts that displayed the GOTV prowess of the Stack and Sacco organizations.

Two years ago, in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Union City had a 53% turnout and Gov. Phil Murphy received 89% of the vote.  Jersey City’s turnout was just 28% and Murphy won 54% of the primary vote.

Stack received over 11,000 votes in his May 2018 re-election campaign, even though he ran unopposed.  Sacco won 69% of the vote and carried all 40 voting districts when he ran for re-election in May 2019.

Map by Ben Kestenbaum
Map by Ben Kestenbaum

 

Editor’s Note: Turnout numbers are based on votes cast in the Democratic primary for Hudson County Executive.

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