Anthony P. Vainieri, Jr. formally launched his bid to become Hudson County Democratic Chairman on Friday with the endorsements of incumbent Amy DeGise and all twelve Hudson County mayors.
The announcement of Vainieri’s candidacy was accompanied by a statement from DeGise that she will not seek re-election to the post she’s held since 2018.
“In recent weeks it has become apparent that we have more battles to fight on a statewide level to push back against forces that would prefer to see Hudson divided, and I’m confident that Anthony Vainieri is the best choice to take on that challenge and advocate for what our communities need,” said DeGise, who will now focus on her new post as a Jersey City councilwoman-at-large.
The New Jersey Globe first reported Vainieri’s candidacy fifteen days ago.
Vainieri, the chairman of the Hudson County Board of Commissioners, will likely assume the party chairmanship as part of a peace accord between North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack after the two, both veteran state senators, wound up in the same legislative district under a new map approved last month.
Sacco announced that he will not seek re-election to the Senate, where he has served for nearly 30 years, and would endorse Stack. Sacco will pick a State Assembly member from North Bergen, and Stack will fill the other seat with a West New York Democrat in consultation with Mayor Gabe Rodriguez and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.
That imperils the political careers of two incumbents, Angelica Jimenez (D-West New York) and Pedro Mejia (D-Secaucus).
Stack, who is unopposed in his bid for re-election as mayor in May 2022, will back Sacco for another term as mayor next year, and support Vainieri.
With Sacco, Stack, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise aligned, there is virtually no path for someone to successfully challenge Vainieri.
“Hudson County needs to be united so we can be a leader on the state level and continue to deliver for the residents we serve,” Vainieri stated. “As Chairman I promise to work just as hard as I have on the County Commission Board to make our party stronger, to forge consensus with the mayors and other county leaders, and to move Hudson County forward.”
Fulop’s support of Vainieri – and the decision to pivot the county chair post outside of Jersey City – is another signal that he’s playing on a bigger field, perhaps as a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2025.
“Keeping Hudson County politically unified is an important goal that I share with the other mayors and local leaders,” Fulop said. “I’m excited to work with Anthony Vainieri to make that happen.”