Mayor Nicholas Sacco’s re-election campaign kickoff drew some of the state’s top Democrats and a crowd of more than 1,000 to North Bergen Monday night.
“We believe that you don’t make economic progress without social progress. You don’t make social progress without economic progress,” said Gov. Phil Murphy, who called Sacco a close friend and confidant. “Those are words. We believe them, but if you want to see them in action, come to North Bergen.”
Sacco, who is also a state senator, is running for his eighth term as mayor against Larry Wainstein, a businessman who unsuccessfully attempted to oust Sacco in 2015.
Murphy, State Sen./Union City mayor Brian Stack, State Democratic chairman John Currie, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Hudson County Democratic Chairwoman Amy DeGise, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis and Assembly members Angelica Jimenez (D-West New York), Pedro Mejia (D-Secaucus) and Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Bayonne), among others, joined Sacco and his slate on stage to launch the campaign.
Hudson County Freeholder Board chairman Anthony Vainieri served as the event’s emcee and will chair Sacco’s reelection campaign.
The campaign between the Sacco and Wainstein has already seen its fair share of mudslinging, and members of Sacco’s slate made it abundantly clear they’re taking the race personally.
“I know come election day, we’re going to have a landslide victory,” said North Bergen Commissioner Allen Pascual. “I know that but let us send a message right now to Larry Wainstein that, come election night, we’re going to blow your lights out from here to Franklin Lakes.”
Sacco’s team leveled the same carpetbagger attack against Wainstein in 2015, when Sacco beat Wainstein 8,465 votes to 4,904.
Like last cycle, Sacco is running with Pascual and incumbent commissioners Hugo Cabrera, Frank Gargiulo and Julio Marenco.
Wainstein’s slate also remains unchanged. The challenger is again making his run with Juan Almanzar, Veronica Castrillon, Alcides E. Siri and Eduardo Cespedes.
There’s little risk of Wainstein’s slate upsetting the mayor of 28 years and his slate, but Sacco’s team isn’t taking anything for granted.
Since 2015, Sacco’s organizing strength has only improved, and his team is angling to meet or beat their performance from last time.
And, with last year’s Hudson County warette in the rear view, Sacco will make his run with the full support of get-out-the-vote powerhouses like Stack, who attended the campaign launch but left early to attend to a prior commitment.
Regardless of whether Sacco needs the help — he likely doesn’t — he’ll take it simply because he wants to send a message.
“The worst day of my life would have been if they didn’t file, because I would be really upset with nothing to do for the next couple of months,” he said. “So, we’re going out there 1,000-plus strong, door-by-door, step-by-step, and destroy these people.”