The Hudson County peace agreement was meant to be formalized in Jersey City today, with virtually every major elected official in the county coming together the put the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) together again.
This morning, citing scheduling conflicts among several officials, the HCDO postponed the event to an unspecified time next week. But multiple sources say that the real reason the presser was cancelled was because the most important player – Union City Mayor and State Sen. Brian Stack – refused to attend.
Hudson County Democratic Organization Executive Director Craig Guy said, however, that Stack did not refuse to attend the press conference.
"It was a logistical problem that prevented us from doing it today," he said.
The HCDO has been fractured since Stack broke off to form the Democrats for Hudson County (DFHC) last year, culminating in a bruising legislative primary that split loyalties– with Rep. Albio Sires and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner joining Stack’s side.
Sires could face a primary challenge from the HCDO if the party remains split, and he and Turner, his state chief of staff, were said to have been pushing this press conference ahead, even if it had to happen without Stack.
Guy said that Stack, Healy and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise had breakfast this morning and decided not to go forward with the press conference until the entire ticket could be present.
According to a press release, Stack was set to attend the event along with Jersey City Mayor and HCDO Chairman Jerramiah Healy, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, all of the 31st, 32nd and 33rd district legislators and all the Hudson County mayors – even legally-troubled Guttenberg Mayor David Della Donna. Although his name was not included in the press release, Sen. Frank Lautenberg also planned to attend.
At the press conference, the politicians planned to announce the HCDO’s line in the June Democratic primary, headed up by Lautenberg and including Reps. Sires, Steve Rothma, and Donald Payne, who has run afoul of Democratic powerbrokers in neighboring Essex County, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
It is unclear exactly why Stack chose not to attend the press conference.
“Turner and Albio (Sires) are running around trying to mend the line. Stack is saying what’s the benefit for him?” said one source.
Two Stack-allied freeholders — Maurice Fitzgibbons and Tilo Rivas — were set to be endorsed by the HCDO.
Stack is said to still support the freeholder candidacy of Sean Connors, who ran on the DFHC ticket in the June primary to challenge state Sen. Nicholas Sacco in the 32nd district.
“We had ongoing conversations up until this weekend … From what I know, there is support that’s supposed to be coming from Brian (Stack),” said Connors, who added that he plans to make a run for the seat regardless of who’s behind him.
“Just like anything else, things can change on a daily basis,” he said.