JERSEY CITY – The Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) announced its slate of candidates for state and county office on Friday in a building that took on an unexpectedly ironic meaning: a courthouse.
The Hudson Dems presented a united front behind U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on the day a report emerged that the Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal charges against New Jersey’s senior Senator, alleging that Menendez used his office to boost the business interests of a wealthy Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.
Many at the Hudson County Courthouse in Jersey City, there to back the Hudson Democratic ticket for 2015, have long-standing political ties to Menendez, long the power broker in Hudson County politics.
State Assembly Speaker Vinny Prieto (D-32) declined to answer questions about the allegations against Menendez.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Prieto, “The reason is that he’s a friend of mine.”
“I have nothing but respect for Bob Menendez,” said state Senator Brian Stack (D-33). “He’s done a lot for the people of Hudson County.”
“I stand by our friend. Anybody who makes assumptions based on a leaked report obviously doesn’t know Senator Menendez,” said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. “You have to question who is leaking [the report of allegations against Menendez], and what their motives are.”
Getting the backing of Prieto and the Hudson County Democratic Organization:
In LD31: Nick Chiaravalloti of Bayonne, former Menendez State Director, and Democratic Committeewoman Denise Ridley of Jersey City;
LD32: incumbents Speaker Prieto of Secaucus and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez of West New York;
In LD33: incumbent Assemblyman Raj Mukherji of Jersey City and Hoboken City Hall employee Annette Chaparro.