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Mayor Santos Weighs In On Redistricting & Senator Sacco bows out Gracefully

Feb 26, 2022

Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos recently weighed in on the Apportionment (Redistricting) Commission split of Harrison and East Newark from the 32nd District into the 29th District which includes the Ironbound Section of Newark and the Town of Belleville.  Kearny was also split from the 32nd District and placed into the 31st District (Jersey City and Bayonne).  Mayor Santos states that the Redistricting Commission was not transparent in its process because it worked behind closed doors. In addition to  Harrison, East Newark, and Kearny (the West Hudson towns),  the 32nd District includes the towns of Edgewater, Fairview, Guttenberg, North Bergen, West New York, and Secaucus.

 Redistricting is done every 10 years to balance Congressional and Legislative districts in New Jersey and it follows Census data on increases and decreases in population and tries to balance the representation based upon the number of residents.  

The biggest impact from redistricting is on State Senator Nicholas Sacco who was moved from his 32nd District into the 33rd District.  With one swipe of the pen, Senator Sacco lost the support of the voters of the Town of Harrison, East Newark, and Kearny who historically have supported the Senator through the years he has been Senator.  It also put him in a District that would require him to oppose his fellow Democratic Senator Brian Stack.  Two powerhouses competing in a Democratic primary for a Senate seat was going to be a memorable campaign but a very expensive campaign in terms of dollars and also split the Democratic supporters who usually suppose both Senators.  As this article was being written, Senator Nicholas Sacco announced that he would not be running against Senator Stack and that he would be endorsing Senator Stack in the Democratic primary.  Senator Sacco stated in his announcement that “it’s important to send a clear message now that Hudson County Democrats will remain united and to put any speculation about a divisive and unnecessary primary next year to rest.”  Senator Sacco is also the Mayor of North Bergen.

Senator Stack stated “Nick Sacco is one of the most important leaders in our Democratic Party and I greatly value his experience, his judgment, and his friendship. By making this announcement, Senator Sacco is demonstrating his steadfast dedication to the people of Hudson County and our Democratic Party. I appreciate his endorsement very much, and I plan to fully support him and his team in their local re-election campaign next year in North Bergen.” 

Harrison Mayor Fife and Harrison Democratic Chairman James Doran had thrown in the towel on fighting the movement of Harrison from the 32nd District in Hudson County to the 29th District in Essex County had abandoned any effort to help Senator Sacco.  The Redistricting has now split politically the Town of Harrison from being a Hudson County Legislative District to being an Essex County Legislative District.  One wonders if a group in the Redistricting Commission was set on diminishing the Democrat Legislative Power by removing one of the most experienced and effective Senators in Hudson County.  Taking both Harrison, East Newark, and Kearny and splitting them up into different districts also impacts the power of a block of votes from a West Hudson that consistently supported Democratic candidates. Time will tell what impact the current redistricting will have on Harrison. 

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