Antonio Suarez, the brother of Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, is tentatively slated to replace Vincent Prieto in the New Jersey State Assembly, according to sources familiar with the decision but not authorized to speak publicly.
Prieto is expected to assume a top staff position at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. This is the consolation prize he sought after being dumped as Assembly Speaker. Once he resigns, Hudson County Democrats have decided to pick Suarez, a commissioner of the Secaucus Housing Authority.
The announcement of Prieto is imminent, sources say.
The 32nd district seat is considered an asset belonging to State Sen. Nicholas Sacco, the Mayor of North Bergen. Sacco had reportedly pushed Esther Suarez as a candidate for state Attorney General during Phil Murphy’s campaign for governor. Prieto, sources say, lobbied heavily for Suarez, wanting the seat to go to a Latino from Secaucus.
If he wins the special election convention – which he will with Sacco’s support – Suarez will need to campaign in a special election this November for the remainder of Prieto’s term. Republicans have not won a legislative race in the 32nd district since 1985.
Prieto’s long-rumored move to the Sports Authority will trigger a vacancy for Hudson County Chairman. That post is expected to go to State Sen. Brian Stack, the Mayor of Union City.
Besides Secaucus and North Bergen, the 32nd district covers West New York, Kearny, Harrison, East Newark and Guttenberg in Hudson County and Edgewater and Fairview in Bergen County.