While gut-wrenching political squabbles like the 33rd District senate race can turn the average observer’s stomach, at least one former Hudson County politician sees it as a breath of fresh air.
“It’s always good to see something going on and you hope some good comes out of it, rather than just the normal thing of everyone falling into line,” said Thomas F. Cowan, a Jersey City Democrat who represented the neighboring 32nd district in the State Senate between 1984 and 1994. “You always hope that when there is some difference in opinion, some good can come out of it.”
Intra-party fighting helps get fresh blood and fresh ideas into the Hudson County political scene, said Cowan, who says he is not following the race very closely. But reading the returns from Tuesday’s municipal election in Hoboken, Cowan could sense voter disenchantment in Hudson County.
“There has been no clear selection of, shall we say, the organization candidates,” said Cowan, referring to the strong showing of reform-minded candidates, even if turnout was relatively low.
Cowan would not pick a favorite in the race, but noted that Stack is a strong candidate. “He worked his way up from the bottom. He seems to have a good constituent response,” said Cowan.
Regarding the bribery accusations Vega leveled against Stack, Cowan felt he didn’t know enough to comment. But the idea of a politician paying constituents’ rents and utility bills did not sound too unusual or improper to him.
“He seems to have a good constituent response… Whether that is from helping people get housing, helping people meet bills, this is something he’s probably been doing all his life,” said Cowan, who stressed that he would not condone doing so to get a County Committee candidate off the ballot.
Cowan, a former labor leader, served as an Assemblyman for six years before winning a Senate seat. He lost his bid for a fourth term in a Democratic primary against Nicholas Sacco.