WEST NEW YORK – In a contest versus a non-opponent not seen since the Irish folk hero Cuchulain swung his sword at the unending tide, state Sen. Brian P. Stack (D-33) reported $175,000 this cycle and spent all but $5,000 (and thousands more raised with his chief fundraising arm Union City First) as he runs in the June 7th Democratic Primary against zero challengers a year after he obliterated Frank Scarafile but not before leaving the world the image of Scarafile’s mugshot for good measure.
Stack’s prolific spending in a non-event election year – including a Union City First bash he threw earlier this week that spilled into a parking lot to the point where his handlers relocated it outside – has captured the grudging attention of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO), the once powerful operation hobbled by repeated defeats and humbled in its 2007 matchup with Stack.
For four years, the organization contained Stack with tradeoffs – freeholders in exchange for staying away from Stack’s ally U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-13) and other tit for tat exercises in detente -capped this year by a move Stack interpreted as an insult as it wrenched West New York out of his district and gave him more of Jersey City.
Sources close to Stack say he is treating the West New York episode personally, and organizing harder than even a year ago when he was already fuming with the prospects of redistricting – to prove he can pull big primary numbers out of Jersey City and exert more organizational control.
Even though he technically won’t represent West New York anymore – a duty assumed by neighboring state Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32) – he intends to open a civic association headquarters there and provide services to former constituents.
“Better than what anyone else would be able to provide in there,” said a Stack loyalist.
The rogue politician’s efforts are complicated by the fact that he continues to nurse close relations to Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who waded into a crowd of admirers last night in West New York trailing Latino television camera crews and a riptide of assorted flip-phone admirers.
“Well,” an HCDO source said with some resignation, “after all, he is the governor,” reserving the greater part of his irritation for Stack.