Denis Jaslow, who ran on the ticket opposing Sacco in the municipal election last May, is facing Sacco once again in Tuesday's election, this time as an independent candidate for the state Senate seat Sacco has had a stranglehold on since 1994.
While Sacco, a Democrat, knows there is opposition from Jaslow, he's not overly concerned.
"I feel the people of my district are satisfied with what I'm doing as a state senator and they will re-elect me on Tuesday," Sacco said. "I think they can look at the overall picture and what I've done for the district, not just North Bergen. I've been able to pass some major bills of legislation during my tenure."
Jaslow, who is a corrections officer at Rahway State Prison, makes no bones about his motivation for running again against Sacco, even thought he was soundly trounced by a 4-to-1 margin in May's election for a seat on the North Bergen Board of Commissioners.
"I won't lie," said Jaslow, a 40-year-old father of two. "I'm doing it because Sacco is on the other side. I'm not a fan of his. But I also have interest in government and I'm doing it for the blue-collar people of the 32nd District. I'm a voice for my fellow blue-collar workers and I can bring a lot to the district."
Jaslow said that he is qualified to be a state senator, after having served for 20 years as an aide to former State Assemblyman David Kronick and an aide to former Hudson County Freeholder Vince Ascolese.
"I'm running as an independent, but I'm still a Democrat," Jaslow said. "I know that there are a lot of people who are not happy with what's going on. They don't care for the way government is being run and they want to have a change. I want to represent the people, not special interest groups. I don't have a lot of money behind me. I just want to help the people."
Added Jaslow, "I think people are slowly backing away from the Democratic machine. I think people feel that there is a lot of corruption going on in North Bergen and in the county as a whole and I can be a different voice, if someone is willing to vote for an independent."
Sacco said that he will stand on his legislative record serving as a state senator. He feels that he has been able to get some influential bills he introduced passed, including the Fixed Motor Vehicle Bill and the DNA Bill against violent sex offenders.
"There was a lack of security in getting drivers' licenses and registrations," Sacco said. "Terrorists infiltrated the New Jersey motor vehicle system to get fraudulent licenses. Plus, people always felt like they were getting mistreated at the Motor Vehicles. My bill went to change the entire system."
Sacco said that he was also influential in passing legislation that combined the New Jersey Turnpike Authority with the Garden State Parkway.
"We saved about $6 million right away and will save millions in the future," Sacco said. "We're now going to be more efficient with one entity and no competition between the two."
Sacco's push to have the state DNA bill passed was a breakthrough, because it has helped to solve some long-existing unsolved crimes.
"It's also helped to get some people to be proven innocent if the DNA doesn't match up," Sacco said. "The testing does go a long way to helping solve crimes."
Sacco said that his work with the state Department of Transportation also enabled North Bergen to receive two Tonnelle Avenue overpasses, one near the Jersey City/North Bergen border and another at 34th Street, that have enabled traffic to flow easier in those areas.
"We're working on another for 69th Street [near the CSX railroad connection between Tonnelle and West Side Avenues]," Sacco said. "We've been able to do other road improvements, as well as working on bringing the (Hudson-Bergen) Light Rail to North Bergen. We've done a lot for transportation."
Jaslow just feels like he's a better option.
"The response from the people has been unbelievable," Jaslow said. "People are not happy with him. They're tired of the same old things, the overcrowding in the neighborhoods."
What makes Jaslow feel that this run will be more successful that the one-sided defeat in May?
"The May election was one thing," Jaslow said. "This is a different election. We're going in a whole new different direction. I used to be a boxer and my coach taught me to jab, jab, jab and then eventually the door opens up. Well, I keep jabbing and eventually that door will open. Something will happen. I'm here for the people and I'm giving the people someone else to vote for."
Is he undaunted?
"There's no question, I'm the underdog here," Jaslow said. "But I'm just building the foundation. I'm going to keep fighting for the people."
The heavy favorite isn't overly concerned.
"As a mayor, I know how the legislative arm works," Sacco said. "I'm very careful when I vote for a bill. I've been a diligent senator and I will continue to be one."