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Craig Guy’s Enthusiastic Sigh of Relief Masks Challenges Ahead



On Tuesday, Hudson County Executive Craig Guy, the incoming Chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO), along with Union City Mayor Brian Stack, appeared elated as Congressman Rob Menendez secured reelection to District 8. However, behind their collective sigh of relief lies a series of formidable challenges that threaten to upend the status quo in Jersey City politics and beyond.

The Reality Behind the Enthusiasm

While Menendez’s victory was celebrated, the Congressman faced a significant defeat in Jersey City, where he was decisively beaten. This setback in the city’s key wards—D, C, and E—highlights the growing disconnect between the HCDO and an increasingly progressive electorate. Guy, now at the helm of the HCDO, must rebrand the organization to appeal to a new era of voters who are disillusioned with the status quo. The question is how he can achieve this with a bench full of North Hudson Democratic Mayors who enjoy the current system.

The Gentrification Factor

Gentrification has brought a wave of new residents to Jersey City who have shown they will not support the traditional HCDO machine. These voters are more progressive and demand change, which has led to a leftward shift in the political dynamics of the city’s wards. Guy’s ability to adapt to these changes and rally the troops around a new vision will be crucial for the HCDO’s future success.

Key Challenges Ahead

Guy’s tenure as Chairman will be defined by his ability to address several critical challenges:

  1. Assembling a GOTV Team for Jim McGreevey’s Mayoral Campaign: One of Guy’s primary tasks will be to build a robust Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operation to support former Governor Jim McGreevey in his bid for Jersey City Mayor in 2025. Success in this endeavor is crucial to maintaining HCDO’s influence in the city.
  2. Mediating Between Steven Fulop and Brian Stack: Another significant challenge will be managing the relationship between Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Union City Mayor Brian Stack. As Fulop prepares for his gubernatorial primary in June 2025, avoiding a destructive conflict between these two powerful figures is essential for maintaining party unity and strength.
  3. Combating Progressive Infiltration: The rise of progressive forces led by Jersey City Councilman James Solomon poses a direct threat to the traditional HCDO establishment. If Solomon and his allies gain control of the Jersey City Democratic Organization (JCDO), Guy’s power could be significantly diminished.

The O’Dea Factor

Adding to the complexity is County Commissioner Bill O’Dea, a long-term political figure with substantial support in the city’s south side. O’Dea, who is not the HCDO-endorsed candidate for mayor in 2025, could prove to be a pivotal player. If he decides to align with Solomon and potentially with Fulop, Jersey City could emerge as a formidable independent political force, challenging the HCDO’s dominance in Hudson County and beyond. Long-term, the HCDO needs Jersey City’s electorate to be in lockstep.

Strategic Decisions Ahead

The HCDO faces critical strategic decisions. Should they go all-in with McGreevey’s mayoral campaign, or take a hands-off approach similar to the era of Bret Schundler’s mayoralty, where the JCDO remained powerless while Bob Janiszewski, as County Executive and HCDO Chairman, wielded the real political power in Jersey City?

Craig Guy’s initial enthusiasm for Menendez’s victory masks a turbulent road ahead. His success as HCDO Chairman will hinge on his ability to unify disparate factions, adapt to an evolving voter base, and maintain the organization’s relevance in a rapidly changing political arena.