Until mid-September, there was a real chance that State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City) would endorse Republican Christopher Christie for governor. Stack was no great fan of one of his constituents, Gov. Jon Corzine, and it took some real pressure to keep him in line. The stick used on Stack was a threat to pull state aid to Union City, where Stack is the mayor; sources say Stack was told that a Christie endorsement might endanger future state funding. On board, Stack delivered for Corzine, even when some other key Democrats did not. Corzine beat Christie 8,300 to 2,191 (77%-20%) in Union City. Four years ago, Corzine beat Republican Douglas Forrester 9,385 to 2,459 (79%-20%). While turnout was down, Christie actually got less votes in Union City than Forrester did.
Now Christie, facing an extraordinary fiscal crisis, has told cities not to count on anymore state aid, and to begin cutting their local budgets. This will make for some interesting negotiations in Trenton, where Stack the senator has key votes – both on the Judiciary Committee that must approve the governor’s nominations – and as one of four Democratic votes Christie will need to get some of his legislative packages through the upper house. Stack the mayor, who firmly adheres to the old Tip O’Neill “all politics is local” thing, might need to rebuild what was once a growing friendship with the new governor.