North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco is getting some aid in his re-election bid against businessman Larry Wainstein.
Hudson County Chairwoman Amy DeGise told the New Jersey Globe that the Hudson County Democratic Organization and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop were each sending between 50 and 75 volunteers to canvass on election day in North Bergen.
Sacco’s campaign launched about 30 of those volunteers from its headquarters on Kennedy Boulevard, where DeGise and Fulop both made appearances, at 1 p.m.
It’s not clear how much of a difference the last-minute help will make — Sacco said he won’t be doing much canvassing Tuesday, instead opting to visit polling places throughout the town.
The same wasn’t true for Wainstein.
“We’re going to campaign, we’re going to go door to door, we’re going to pull out the vote, and we’re going to continue to get our message out,” Wainstein said outside of Sacco’s polling place on Palisade Avenue, where he appeared with a group of roughly 10 supporters.
The campaign in North Bergen has been a vicious one, even more so than the town’s 2015 mayoral race, which also saw Wainstein pitted against Sacco, who is also a state senator.
Sacco won that race by a two-to-one margin.
This time, Wainstein has put almost $250,000 of his own money into the race, according to campaign finance reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
And though Sacco’s trademark neon-yellow signs still outnumber Wainstein signs in most North Bergen neighborhoods, the the result of the challenger’s investment is clear.
Multiple trucks plastered in Wainstein signs have circled the town in the campaign’s closing days, and the challenger’s canvassers are stationed around North Bergen.
The campaign has largely focused on a proposed North Bergen powerplant.
If the plant is approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency, North Bergen would receive funds in exchange.
To Wainstein, the money isn’t worth it.
“They don’t want the powerplant in our community,” he said, referring to North Bergen residents. “My mission is to stop the powerplant that’s going to be producing over 6.2 million pounds of toxic waste”
Sacco said Wainstein had turned the powerplant into a political issue through lies.
“You’re going to sit around and defend a power plant? It sounds bad. They show a picture of smokestacks. It’s not true,” Sacco said. “Knowing the accuracy, he said something like it’s going to spew ‘hundreds of tons of cancer.’ That’s the actual phrase he used. It’s almost bizarre, but you can’t defend against it because it’s not our plan.”
Though the goal is a lofty one, Sacco said last week that he was aiming to do better against Wainstein than he did in 2015.
He was reluctant to make any predictions about the race’s outcome — Wainstein, promising a “huge victory” did not share that reluctance.
“We had a 64% margin. It’s a really solid margin. It’s hard to tell, you know? I would love to see that happen. We’ll find out tonight,” Sacco said.