If the term “political hack” is ever added to the Oxford English Dictionary, the entry could be well illustrated with a photo of Albio Sires — indifferent assemblyman, mediocre mayor of West New York and all-around undistinguished public figure whose most compelling reason for succeeding Robert Menendez as the representative for the 13th Congressional District seems to be that it will pump up his pension after he retires.
Nevertheless, Sires is the clear favorite straight out of the gate because the district lies mostly within his Hudson County home base, as this Bergen Record story lays out quite capably. He has also kissed all the right rings, played ball with the right cronies and gained the benediction of Menendez. He is also pocketing the endorsements of various unions whose leaders have apparently concluded that he’s going to be the new congressman, so why not bend with the wind?
What the story doesn’t make clear, however, is that Joseph Vas, Perth Amboy mayor and assemblyman, is an independent-minded, progressively inclined Democrat who would be a superb addition to Congress — as opposed to Sires, who would be a Republican if he hadn’t sussed early on that playing Democrat was the way to get ahead in Hudson County.
Vas has spent close to two decades being his own man in John Lynch territory, and under his stewardship Perth Amboy has started to realize its potential as a jewel on Raritan Bay. Contrast this with West New York, a chunk of pyrite embedded in New Jersey’s Gold Coast, run by a guy whose idea of constituent service is to work on his golf game whenever possible. Vas is clearly the better man.
Jake Stuiver, one of the new bloggers on the block, delves into the matter himself. I’d say Vas is a good candidate for netroots support. Can I get a witness?
Cross-posted at The Opinion Mill.