In a county that Joe Biden won by 46 points, getting the endorsement of the Hudson County Democratic Organization is a near guaranty of electoral success. Today the HCDO made made known its endorsements in two legislative districts.
For Legislative District 32, which includes parts of Jersey City as well as Hoboken, the organization gave the nod to Raj Mukherji for State Senate and Jessica Ramirez and John Allen for State Assembly.
For District 33, which includes Union City, North Bergen, West New York, Weehawken, Secaucus and Guttenberg, the HCDO chose Brian Stack for State Senate and Gabriel Rodriguez and Julio Marenco for State Assembly.
For County Executive, it chose Craig Guy.
The announcements were made this morning in front of the Brennan Courthouse with Governor Phil Murphy, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, Senate President Nick Scutari, Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairman Anthony Vainieri and a phalanx of local Democratic officials looking on.
“Hudson County will always be a place that is close to my heart, so I am proud to be a part of today’s announcement of this new day for the Hudson County Democratic Organization under the leadership of Chairman Vainieri,” said Senator Menendez. “Each of these candidates represents the best of Hudson County and I know they will work hard between now and Election Day, so they each have my full support and endorsement.
The legislative candidates will be running in newly created districts that were selected by the Legislative Redistricting Commission last year.
Said a local political hand, Mukherji’s endorsement makes sense. “Since he worked in the Healy administration, he’s impressed people with his smarts and won people over with his personality. He comes from an important demographic that is under-represented.”
Craig Guy “has been a trusted advisor to DeGise and was a political adviser to Healy. He’s built relationships with all of the mayors in Hudson County as well as the governor. The mayors of Hudson county recognize that he can do the job effectively as well as maintain political peace in Hudson County.”
Getting the HCDO’s endorsement gives a candidate a coveted “county line” position on the ballot. The “line” — a vertical grouping of candidates endorsed by the organization — is currently being challenged in federal court for what critics say is the unfair advantage it gives to candidates with machine backing. Other candidates, critics say, are consigned to “ballot Siberia” and garner many fewer votes by virtue of their position alone and off to the side.
“Getting the county line is always an advantage. In this particular year when there isn’t a well known candidate at the top of the line, it’s more important to have the support of the HCDO with its fundraising abilities and human resources, with people licking envelopes, making calls and knocking on doors” said the political hand.
The HCDO will announce its endorsements in the 31st Legislative District and for the County Commission at a later date. The district is currently represented by the ailing Senator Sandra Cunningham and Assembly members Angela McKnight and William Sampson.
Mukherji has served in the State Assembly since 2013 representing the 33rd District and served as a Deputy Mayor in Jersey City.
Ramirez is a Jersey City resident and partner at the law firm D’Arcy Johnson Day. She has served on the State Ethics Committee and as an Eminent Domain Commissioner.
Allen, who lives in Hoboken, is the former Chief of Staff to Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and his predecessor Dawn Zimmer.
Craig Guy is the longtime Chief of Staff to Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and a retired Jersey City police officer.