This isn't Sires' fault. Gov. Jon Corzine took long to make up his mind about appointing Bob Menendez to the U.S. Senate - leaving everybody to wait for more than a month before he decided to do it.
But the wait could be killing Sires since he has a lot on the line. If there is a special election - which New Jersey hasn't had for one of its House of Representatives' seats since 1950 - Corzine will have to actually declare it. Once declared, a special primary will have to be held 65 to 71 days later, and a special election 46 to 52 days after that.
If Corzine chooses not to call a special election, voters will have to wait until the November general election, leaving the seat vacant for a year, and the 13th District unrepresented in the federal government.
A special election could pose some serious problems for Sires, however, because he would not be able to run for mayor of West New York in May and would have to vacate his Assembly seat early. A general election would allow him to keep his Assembly seat until the end of the year and help pick his successor and allow him to run for mayor again in May, holding that until the end of the year when it is expected that freeholder Chairman Sal Vega will take his place.
For Corzine, who owes a lot of the current power base, this is a huge early moment in his administration, because he has to decide between doing what is right for the political portion of the party that helped get him elected governor or making certain the 13th District has a voice in the House of Representatives.
Could Stack become state senator?
At stake is the rising power of Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who would become that much more powerful if Sires was to shed his mayoral and Assembly position early.
Stack, who is powerful already, could become much more powerful, especially in his desire to move up to state Senate, into a seat currently held by state Sen. Bernard Kenny.
Some believe Kenny may seek to become state Senate president in order to counter pressure from Stack, allowing Kenny a statewide power base. But such a move would put him at odds with former Gov. Richard Codey, unless of course Corzine appoints Codey as the head of the Meadowlands Sports and Exposition Authority.
Carl J. Goldberg, the current chairman of the sports authority, is a key player in this since he is a prime fund-raiser for both Sires and Kenny, and might choose to step aside in order to support a Kenny defense against Stack.
Stack, of course, could put together a solid ticket against Kenny. If Stack challenges Kenny, Kenny would have to find two Assembly candidates to run on his ticket, one to replace Sires, the other to replace Stack.
Since Vega appears to be more interested in taking Sires' mayoral slot than his Assembly seat, Kenny may have to put together a "no-name ticket." Stack, meanwhile, might tap Freeholder Tilo Rivas as one Assembly candidate and perhaps Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop for the other.
Since Union City borders both North Bergen and Jersey City, Stack can possibly seek support from both North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. Such a union could restructure the power grid in Hudson County and send the chairmanship of the Hudson County Democratic Organization back to Jersey City.
In a primary fight, Kenny, of course, would likely look to someone in his hometown of Hoboken as a candidate. This could mean he might reach out to former opponents such as Councilman Michael Russo or former mayoral candidate Carol Marsh.
This is pure speculation by several political observers, who, like baseball or football fans, are putting together a fantasy ticket.
Although politics is always full of surprises, it is difficult to see how Kenny can bridge the gap between Marsh and Russo. But anything is possible. If Kenny can lure Vega into the Assembly race, rumors suggest that former West New York Commissioner and former Sires ally Gerry Lange might take Vega's seat as freeholder.
Gaughan would seek Assembly seat
Jersey City Councilman Bill Gaughan has informed the Hudson County Democratic Organization that he is interested in a seat on the state Assembly should one become open.
By this, he is referring to the seat held currently by Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, since Gaughan said he would not challenge Assemblyman Vincent Pietro.
"We've agreed that Vincent's seat is a Secaucus seat," Gaughan said.
But would Quigley leave the seat?
The proposed closing of St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken, where she is employed full-time as a spokeswoman, might present an answer.
Quigley may be the long sought after answer to who will head the North Hudson Action Commission that had Sacco and Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell at odds with Sires and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.
Should Gaughan become an Assembly candidate, Stack would have another powerful Jersey City ally, and Jersey City would have a powerful voice in seeking the return of the county Democratic chairmanship to Jersey City.
Who will Menendez support?
Of course, Jersey City has its own issues to resolve.
A February fund-raiser for Assemblyman Louis Manzo will feature boxer Larry Holmes and Menendez, a political heavyweight, at a whopping ticket price of $500.
Gaughan and his close associate, County Executive Tom DeGise, could see this as a Manzo move to get heavy backing for another run at Jersey City mayor, against Healy.
Menendez, meanwhile, needs Manzo to keep a presence in Jersey City.
Menendez may also back candidates for other posts, and since Sheriff Joe Cassidy said he has not been approached with a state-level appointment, he'll be running for one of the several seats open in 2008 - one of which is county sheriff. But the county executive seat will be up during that same primary.