A challenger to Sacco in North Bergen steps up

North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco.

North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco.

It might not be the battle they had initially hoped for, but Hudson County politicos can rest assured that they will get to see some action during this otherwise peaceful election season.

PolitickerNJ has learned that Larry Wainstein, long-time thorn in the side of North Bergen Mayor/state Senator Nick Sacco (D-32) and members the Hudson County Democratic Organization as a whole, will officially launch his mayoral challenge of the town’s leading Democrat tonight. A kickoff event — a “Valentine’s Day party” with free food and drinks, according to Wainstein’s voice mailbox message  — is set to be held at Schutzen Park (38th st and Kennedy Blvd) in North Bergen at 7pm.

The race, now all but finalized, is sure to add some color to Hudson County’s political scene this year. While Wainstein has long dogged Sacco and company in his role as figurehead of North Bergen Concerned Citizens Group, it’s the first time the wealthy businessman, who owns a handful of North Hudson liquor stores and a check cashing shop, is stepping up to take on the incumbent. Sources say things are already heating up with negative fliers issuing from both camps.

Members of the HDCO roundly despise Wainstein, who they believe to be a “fraud” and “con man masquerading as a ‘concerned citizen'”. In a statement from campaign spokesperson Paul Swibinski, Sacco’s team made their case.

“Larry Wainstein is a fraud and front man for a corrupt ex-convict and former Township Clerk named Joe Mocco. Mocco was fired by Mayor Sacco after he was convicted of bribery and extortion and he is running Larry Wainstein’s campaign,” Swibinski said. “Wainstein lives in a $2 million mansion in Franklin Lakes where his children go to public school, yet he refers to his home as a ‘vacation property’ — which is not only an outright lie but an insult to the voters of North Bergen. Wainstein and Mocco are political gangsters whose real goal is to loot North Bergen’s treasury. Their corrupt dealings will be fully exposed and they have an ice cube’s chance in hell of winning this election.”

For more on the candidate, who could not be reached for comment, see here for an interesting profile of Wainstein, written by Political Insider’s Augie Torres.

A challenger to Sacco in North Bergen steps up