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Winners & Losers: May 2019 Edition

The Year of the Off-Year

By David Wildstein, May 21 2019 12:04 am

 

Special Edition: May 2019 Municipal Elections
The Year of the Off-Year
The most closely watched races of the May non-partisan municipal elections were in Hudson County, where North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and West New York Mayor Felix Roque sought re-election.  One year ago, Sacco and Roque were on opposite sides of a brewing Democratic warette after Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop led a movement to dump Tom DeGise as the County Executive.  Sacco stuck with DeGise and Roque sided with Fulop.  After DeGise prevailed — largely because Fulop couldn’t produce a big margin from county committee in Jersey City — there is now peace in Hudson County.  Fulop and Union City Mayor/State Sen. Brian Stack wound up helping Sacco win a landslide 69% re-election against Larry Wainstein, but Roque lost a race that Fulop sat out entirely.  Sitting out races seems to be his thing.
(Editor’s Note: All names are listed in alphabetical order.  For the most part, candidates who won an election are not listed as winners and those who were unsuccessful are not among the losers — that kind of list would demonstrate a severe lack of creativity.  Instead, this list is about those who benefit or suffer because of the outcome of an election.)

Winners Losers
JOHN ALLEN RENE ABREU
The chief of staff to the mayor of Hoboken played a key role in recruiting and delivering campaign workers to North Bergen to help Nick Sacco’s team win re-election.  The former real estate developer and Hudson Democratic fundraiser was involved in Felix Roque’s re-election campaign in West New York.
JONATHAN CASTANEDA JEANINE BAUER
The West New York Democratic municipal chairman was once Felix Rogue’s chief of staff, but flipped sides and ran the New Beginnings West New York campaign that ousted Roque. The former South Orange Village Trustee and Democratic municipal chairman backed Deborah Davis Ford for Village President and saw her candidate win just 26% of the vote.
TOM DEGISE BOB DETORE
The Hudson County Executive, left for dead on the side of the road last year, watches allies sweep elections in North Bergen and West New York. The longtime Verona Democratic insider saw his guy, deputy mayor Michael Nochimson, lose his bid for re-election — a major blow to the Detore faction in Verona.
AMY DEGISE MANNY DIAZ
The first-year Hudson County Democratic chair backed winners in North Bergen and West New York and now presides over a party that is largely at peace.  Once a big player in Hudson politics, he is again out of power with the defeat Felix Roque for re-election as mayor of West New York.
VIC DELUCA JOE FERRIERO
The mayor of Maplewood was all-in for neighbor Sheena Collum’s campaign for re-election as South Orange Village President. The former Bergen County Democratic chairman was unsuccessful in his bid for a political comeback as the strategist for Felix Roque’s re-election for mayor of West New York.
EDDIE DONNELLY
The president of the New Jersey Fireman’s Benevolent Association (FMBA) played heavily in the South Orange Village Trustee race, where incumbent Sheena Collum wants to turn over the paid fire department to Maplewood.  The union candidate received just 24% of the vote, which means the consolidation plan is likely to move forward, but Donnelly gets points for doing his job and protecting members of the union — even amidst tough odds. 
SHAUN GOLDEN HARRY KUMBURIS
The Monmouth County GOP chairman holds on to a council seat in Ocean Township where incumbent Rob Acerra had been dropped from a slate of ex-running mates. The Cedar Grove councilman loses re-election by 33 votes and then faces a heap of trouble when he begins ringing doorbells after the polls closed — maybe in last-minute bid to get more vote-by-mail ballots cast.
VIN GOPAL GERALD LANGE
The Democratic state senator tied to 4 of 5 winners in Ocean Township, where his endorsed candidate was the top vote-getter.  The former West New York Commissioner is on the outs again after backing Felix Roque’s losing bid for re-election as mayor.
GRASSROOTS VERONA & SOUTH ORANGE ACTIVISTS LIONEL LEACH
A massive group of volunteers in Verona and South Orange — some involved in their first political campaign — fueled a huge win for Verona councilwoman-elect Christine McGrath and a landslide re-election for South Orange Village President Sheena Collum.. The former CWA leader was like a fish out of water in South Orange, where his candidate for Village President received just 24% of the vote.   
CRAIG GUY HENRY MARRERO
The chief of staff for the Hudson County Executive helps Nick Sacco and Gabe Rodriguez win. Once an ally of Nick Sacco, the former North Bergen police lieutenant was effectively defeated in his bid to become the police director when his candidate, Larry Wainstein, lost.
MATT KRAYTON PRINT MEDIA
The political consultant scores a nice win for Christine McGrath in Verona. New Jersey’s old media barely — and in some cases never — covered important races for municipal office in the May election.  The clear exception was the Jersey Journal, for which Hudson County is now sitting Shiva now that Terrence McDonald has bolted for The (Bergen) Record. 
JUSTIN MERCADO HANK SCHEINKOPF
The aide to Union City mayor/State Sen. Brian Stack helps deliver bodies to North Bergen for Nick Sacco. Once one of the  top political consultants in the New York region, he spent the first half of 2019 helping Larry Wainstein spent what could be $1 million to get clobbered in his bid to beat Nick Sacco in North Bergen.
WENDY MARTINEZ
The Democratic political consultant handled Hispanic outreach for Team Sacco in North Bergen.  
BOB MENENDEZ
The Democratic United States Senator cuts Spanish language TV and radio ads for Nick Sacco’s re-election campaign.  
JOSEPH MUNIZ
One of Nick Sacco’s top political lieutenants, the North Bergen Democrat was 24/7 in a campaign that netted the incumbents a massive 69% win.  
PHIL MURPHY
The Governor of New Jersey sees potential allies in a 2021 primary fight win municipal elections: Nick Sacco in North Bergen, Gabe Rodriguez in West New York, Sheena Collum in South Orange and Christine McGrath in Verona.  
DOMINIQUE PETRILLO
Nick Sacco’s Senate aide and a member of the North Bergen Housing Authority sees her political stack go up with the mayor’s big win.  
JOHN SABAN
The Democratic municipal chairman of Mount Ephraim plays a key role in a victory by incumbents for the borough commissioner.  
MITCH SEIM
The Democratic political consultant scores another win when 4 of 5 of his candidates win council seats in Ocean Township.  
PETE SHERIDAN
The former aide to Chris Christie, now a political consultant, scores his first win as his two candidates win in Cedar Grove.   
ALBIO SIRES
The Democratic congressman put together the New Beginnings West New York slate where his ally, Gabriel Rodriguez, will be the next mayor — replacing Sires rival Felix Roque.  
MICHAEL SOLIMAN
The Mercury Public Affairs partner was a top fundraiser and backer of his longtime friend, Gabriel Rodriguez, the new mayor of West New York.  
PHIL SWIBINSKI
The political consultant with the golden touch continues his 2017 winning streak by handling the campaigns of Nick Sacco in North Bergen and Gabe Rodriguez in West New York.    
RICHARD TURNER
The mayor of Weehawken and top aide to Rep. Albio Sires played a pivotal role in the West New York campaign that toppled Felix Roque and swept the municipal elections.  
ANTHONY VAINIERI
The Hudson County freeholder and Sacco insider was as key player in the North Bergen landslide win.  
VILLAGE GREEN  
The online South Orange news site excelled in their political coverage of the local election.  
WAYNE ZITT
The Guttenberg mayor provided an assist to North Bergen, sending in troops from his hometown to help Nick Sacco.  
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