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Hudson County Democratic Chairman Anthony P. Vainieri, Jr. and Vice Chair Barbara Stamato. (Photo: Hudson County Democratic Organization).

Vainieri elected Hudson Democratic county chairman

Three-term county commissioner replaces Amy DeGise as leader of top political organization

By David Wildstein, June 14 2022 7:52 pm

Hudson County Democrats elected Anthony P. Vainieri, Jr. as their new county chairman, replacing Amy DeGise as the head of one of New Jersey’s most fabled county political machines.

The vote among the 900-member Democratic county committee was unanimous.

The chairman of the Hudson County Board of Commissioners, Vainieri  replaces Amy DeGise, who won the seat four years ago but did not seek re-election.  Instead, she’s focusing on the Jersey City Council seat she won last fall.

Jersey City Democratic Municipal Chair Barbara Stamato is the new vice chair.

“Winning elections is about organizing block by block and working with your neighbors to make sure their concerns are being addressed, and that’s exactly the kind of mentality I will bring as Chairman of the HCDO,” Vainieri said.

The New Jersey Globe first reported Vainieri’s emergence as the next county chairman on February 24.

The move to seat Vainieri, who is also the chief of staff to North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, was part of a deal reached in February following the approval of a new legislative redistricting map.

Sacco announced that he would not seek re-election to the State Senate seat he’s held for 30 years and endorsed Brian Stack, the mayor of Union City and a state senator who was remapped into the same district.

In May 2023, Sacco will seek re-election as mayor, a post he’s held since 1991.

Four years after a fierce battle to succeed Vincent Prieto as county chairman, Vainieri’s ascension to the top party post was seamless.

In addition to Stamato, the Vainieri leadership team includes West New  York Mayor Gabe Rodriguez as recording secretary, Kearny Mayor Al Santos as corresponding secretary, Union City school board member Margarita Gutierrez as sergeant-at-arms, and Craig Guy, the chief of staff to County Executive Tom DeGise, as treasurer.

Guy is the front runner to become county executive next year, when DeGise is expected to retire.

Vainieri is the son of former Assemblyman Anthony Vainieri and the brother of former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood).  He is the former chairman of the North Bergen Zoning Board and the co-owner of the Vainieri Funeral Home.

“Public service is in my family’s DNA and nothing means more to me than having the chance to serve the people of Hudson County, so it is an honor to be elected to this position as Chairman of an organization,” Vainieri said.  “I’ve been an active member of since I was 18-years-old.”

Vainieri thanked all the Hudson mayors for their support but singled out Sacco.

“Most of all I’m thankful to the elected men and women of the county committee — they are the backbone of our organization and I will work hard to live up to the faith they have placed in me to lead our party forward,” said Vainieri.

Sacco remains a major force in Hudson County politics.  He’ll have a top lieutenant serving as county chairman going into the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial primary, when Gov. Phil Murphy will be term-limited.

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