The best Brian Stack story involves one of his re-election campaigns for Mayor of Union City. It was a couple of days after he won re-election with 90% of the vote, and Stack spent the day knocking on doors. He had his staff pull the list of people who didn’t show up to vote, and he visited them to ask if he’d done anything to offend them; he wanted to know how he could earn their vote four years later.
Stack had won with a better percentage than Leonid Brezhnev got the last time he ran, but 90% wasn’t good enough for him. I’ve been watching New Jersey pols for nearly 45 years, and Stack is the very best, most hands-on local official I’ve ever seen.
Now it appears likely that Stack is about to get the only other job he’s ever really wanted: Hudson County Democratic Chairman. With that, his local post, and his seat in the New Jersey State Senate, he continues to be one of the most powerful insiders in state politics. This also caps the extent of Stack’s ambition: he doesn’t want to run for Congress or County Executive. He’s 51, and exactly where he wants to be.
Once Stack becomes County Chairman, don’t expect him to ever give it up. It’s entirely possible that he’ll spend the next 25 years there. That means an entire generation of Democratic gubernatorial candidates will need to call on Stack.
He has already proven himself as a candidate. In 2007, when the Hudson organization went for Senate went to Assemblyman/West New York Mayor Sal Vega, Stack ran of the line and obliterated Vega with 73%.
One of the things Stack brings to the table is an actual ability to deliver. He’s one of the few people in New Jersey whose personal endorsement means thousands of votes – that lopsided numbers of his constituents only need to hear his recommendation.