Sources: Prieto leading contender to succeed Smith as HCDO Chairman

After discussions among party leaders last night, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-32) has emerged as the Democrats’ leading choice to succeed Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) Chairman Mark Smith, according to two sources.

Prieto is the preferred choice of powerful state Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32).

Sacco and others last night talked with former HCDO Chairman Bernard Kenny, an ally of Mayor-elect Steve Fulop’s.

Kenny doesn’t want the job, two sources told, a dynamic that helped Sacco drive Prieto.

Sacco was the force two years ago behind his assemblyman from Secaucus becoming chairman of the Assembly budget committee.

Smith’s HCDO backed Jersey City Mayor Jerry Healy. Healy last week lost to Fulop.

A third source close to the party discussions said the votes are there for Prieto.

He has advantages in North Bergen, West New York, Gutenberg, Weehawken, Kearny, Harrison, East Newark, most of Jersey City and Hoboken.

He lacks Smith’s hometown of Bayonne and Union City. “It’s all over,” the source said. 

Named co-chair of Fulop’s campaign committee this week, along with Freeholder Bill O’Dea, state Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-31) is said to be poised to deliver committee votes out of Jersey City for Fulop.

A source close to the negotiations described the $100K forked into Healy’s campaign in the 11th hour as “the nail in the coffin” to his chairmanship.

Sacco was annoyed at Smith for supporting then-Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan (D-20) for speaker over Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34), and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez was livid when Smith bucked U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) for state Sen. Nia Gill (D-34) in the 10th Congressional District Primary.   Sources: Prieto leading contender to succeed Smith as HCDO Chairman