High winds and unusually cold April temperatures did, however, drive the parade of Democratic Party bigwigs indoors, as the administration of the Jersey City Medical Center donated space at its new but not yet officially opened hospital.
Unveiling the ticket, HCDO Chairman and state Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny Jr. brought together many of the most powerful political figures in Hudson County, including the 32nd District's state Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Assembly members Joan Quigley and Anthony Impreveduto. The 33rd District Assemblyman and Union City Mayor Brian Stack, County Executive Tom DeGise, Hoboken Mayor David Roberts, Harrison Mayor Ray McDonough, County Clerk Javier Inclan, Freeholder Barry Dugan, County Sheriff Joe Cassidy and County Registrar Don DeLeo were also at the event.
"Today, we bring together the Democratic family across Hudson County to declare our support and begin the process for an exciting primary season, where we democrats will choose not only the candidates that will represent us in November for county-level officials, but also congressional and presidential candidates."
Kenny said he believed HCDO had assembled a team that cared for the community and had a strong record of service, which will bring them victory in June and again in November.
The Hudson County team will be headed by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
"John Kerry brings a new energy to the Democratic Party and has the vision necessary to secure our country and lead us into a more prosperous era," Kenny said.
Incumbents Steve Rothman, Donald Payne and Bob Menendez are seeking reelection to the House of Representatives, Sheriff Joe Cassidy, Surrogate Donald De Leo and Freeholder Tilo Rivas are running under the HCDO banner.
No other Democratic slates have yet emerged to challenge the HCDO, although a few weeks still remain for someone to file.
Congressional seats set
Up this year are all three of the Congressional districts which overlap in Hudson County. The HDCO is putting up incumbent Congressman Steve Rothman in the 9th District - which encompasses portions of Jersey City, Kearny and North Bergen and all of Secaucus.
In a powerful speech, Rothman not only celebrated his environmental successes with preservation efforts in the Meadowlands and helping to direct federal transportation funds to Hudson County, he blasted the presidency of George W. Bush, suggesting Rothman may take a lead role in supporting John Kerry's election campaign. Rothman is currently serving his fourth term.
"I am grateful to Chairman Bernie Kenny and honored to once again receive the nomination of the Hudson County Democratic Organization," Rothman said. "If reelected for a fifth term in the House, I will continue to fight for the priorities of the people of Hudson County."
The HDCO is also supporting Incumbent Congressman Donald Payne from the 10th Congressional District, although congressional duties kept him from attending the HDCO event. Payne represents portions of Bayonne and Jersey City. In a previously prepared statement, Payne said he would continue to work for economic development, environmental protection, social security and Medicare - and work closely with Menendez and Rothman.
Rep. Bob Menendez is the HDCO candidate for the 13th Congressional District that includes parts of Bayonne, Jersey City, North Bergen and Kearny and all of East Newark, Guttenberg, Harrison, Hoboken, Union City, Weehawken and West New York. He is vying for his sixth two-year term in Congress, and serves in the prestigious post as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, making him the third ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.
"Throughout my years in Congress, I have worked to turn our priorities and principles to action," Menendez said, outlining some areas such as education, housing, health care, the environment and homeland security as priorities. "This has been my mission in the US Congress, and it is my outgoing pledge to you as we continued to work together to build a future that will benefit not only our generation, but our children and grandchildren."
During his speech, Menendez alluded to a grand plan for the region called The Liberty Corridor that would revitalize the research and manufacturing attraction of the region.
"I believe in investing in people, in research, in small business and in infrastructure; the true engines of job creation - engines that we fueled during the Clinton years, and that gave us the longest economic upswing of our lifetimes," Menendez said
Others running on the HCDO ticket
For sheriff, the HDCO will back incumbent Joseph Cassidy, a 32-year veteran and retired deputy chief of the Jersey City Police Department, who is currently serving his fourth three-year term. Cassidy said he was grateful for the privilege of running again on the HDCO ticket, and highlighted some of the successes his administration has had, including investigation of welfare fraud, pursuit of fathers who don't pay child support and taking over county police operations.
"We didn't miss a beat," he said.
For county surrogate, the HDCO is supporting incumbent Donald DeLeo, whose duties cover administering wills, adopting assistance, and other aspects related to assisting the clerk to Superior Court. A surrogate serves a five-year term.
Freeholder Tilo Rivas, who was named last year as a replacement to Nidia Davila-Colon and represented all of Union City and part of Jersey City, will run for the unexpired term that ends on Dec. 31, 2005