That's a lesson Assemblyman and Union City Mayor Brian Stack may soon learn the hard way, as the coalition he put together to challenge the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) begins to pull apart at the seams.
This comes in the same week as Stack decided to turn the temporary alliance of Democrats for Hudson County (DFHC) into a permanent organization.
Problems surfaced from the start.
Assemblyman Louis Manzo was offered the position as chairman for this new organization, but he claims he declined the offer. So the position was given to Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner instead.
Turner is a good choice, except that his first loyalty isn't Stack, but rather to Rep. Albio Sires.
With West New York Commissioner Gerry Lange telling everyone that he is planning a recall election next year against West New York Mayor Sal Vega, Sires has some serious problems. Vega, who self-destructed in his own campaign against Stack for the Democratic nomination to state Senate, still won the respect of the HCDO for helping the HCDO's county ticket win their nominations for the November elections. This means that the HCDO would likely support Vega against against the Lange recall next year, a few weeks beforeprior to the 2008 local Democratic Pprimary.
If Sires remains part of Stack's alternative party, the HCDO willould likely put up a candidate against him for the House of Representatives in the primary - leading to yet another expensive political battle, and possibly to Sires' loss.
One report suggests that Sires people may already be in negotiations with the Vega and the HCDO. The details remain sketchy, but insiders claim Sires might back Vega in return for Vega and HCDO support in the 2008 primary. Vega might even win support for a return to the Hudson County Ffreeholders board, for which he served as chairman for numerous terms.
Thisese moves, of course, would literally gut the newly formed DFHC, leaving Stack even more isolated than he was before, with no elected officials as allies except those onese his vast voter base helped get elected in the primary.
Had Manzo accepted the chairmanship of the DFHC, this deal for Sires to rejoin the HCDO would have been less likely.
Those close to Sires, however, say he will never negotiate with Vega and that no formal discussions are underway with the HCDO. At best, Sires people expect "a working relationship" with the HCDO in the future.
Hoboken reformers did well as HCDO allies
While Stack's numbers were impressive, the aftermath of the primary shows more and more how well the HCDO did, even within the 33 rd state legislative Ddistrict, where Stack rules like a king.
In Hoboken, for instance, the HCDO seems to have helped some local candidates in the council and school board races, raising the prospect of a revitalized party in two years when voters will be asked to select a mayor and three at-large candidates.
Even Carol Marsh, who ran with Vega for state Assembly, and lost, seems to have gained something from the experience. With the help of the HCDO, Marsh was able to garner votes that she had failed to get in her run against Mayor Dave Roberts two years ago, a time when when the reform movement suffered its most significant set back in the loss of key candidates.
Now, with Dawn Zimmer, Peter Cunningham and Beth Mason on the council and with five votes opn the school board, the reform movement again is poised to play a significant role.
While longtime Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons was named chairman of the Hoboken Democratic Organization, most of the key decision -makers in that body are reformers, suggesting that future slates and platforms will strongly reflect reform issues.
County Executive Tom DeGise, and his Democratic running mates, sheriff candidate Juan Perez and county clerk candidate Barbara Netchert, owe the combination of reformer and HCDO support for helping get out their vote in the June Pprimary.
This has led some reformers to claim that the HCDO has become the reform party in Hoboken, and that the old guard - which sided with Stack in the last primary - may have serious problems in the future.
Fitzgibbons, however, sharply disputed any claim of HCDO victory.
"Carol Marsh lots. The HCDO lost. Just look at the numbers," Fitzgibbons said.
Three Democratic parties? As Reporter columnist Matty Amato pointed out last week, Hudson County has never been able to maintain more than one Democratic party for long. As with the case of Stack's party, membership tends to get absorbed into the HCDO eventually. The most recent exception to this was the Hudson County Reform Democratic Organization (HCRDO) founded by former Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham. The HCRDO was successful enough to help Cunningham and his then -running mates Manzo and Bayonne Councilman Anthony Chiappone beat the HCDO for state Senate and Assembly seats in the 2003 Democratic Primary in the 31st District. However, Ththee HCRDO, however, largely collapsed with Cunningham's untimely death in May 2004.
His widow, Sandra Cunningham - who just won the Democratic nomination for her husband's old Ssenate seat - has apparently been toying with the idea of reviving the HCRDO, despite the fact that she ran in June on an HCDO ticket.
This would mean that Hudson County would actually have three Democratic parties at the same time, perhaps a first in its rich political history.
With control of the Freeholder freeholder board as the next big political battle in Hudson County, Sandra Cunningham is believed seeking to controlto want two of the Jersey City freeholder seats, which may see Freeholders Bill O'Dea and Jeff Dublin dumped in favor of Jersey City Incinerator Authority Executive Director Oren Dabney, a prominent supporter during Cunningham's campaign, and another candidate to be named by Cunningham.
Stack, who already controls three of the nine Freeholder seats, may be seeking to pick up one or more. Reports suggest that Gene Drayton, a one-time strong ally of one-time strong ally of Cunningham, has moved into the Stack camp. This could also mean that Assembly candidate L. Harvey Smith may be leaning Stack's way as well.
Smith, however, isn't likely to support any freeholder candidate unless he thinks the candidate is suited for the job.
Doria rumored to be leaving People closed to Bayonne Mayor Joseph Doria say that he is has already decided to take the job as state Commissioner for the Department of Education.
Doria, however, has kept mum about athis career move, which that would help significantly bolster his eventual state retirement package.
To avoid a special election for mayor in November, Doria would have to resign as mayor after Sept. 6.
Bayonne City Hall is abuzz with rumors and reports that some of his closest associates are urging Doria not to leave. Most of them expect an announcement one way or another within a week or two.
If Doria leaves before Sept. 6, a special election for mayor would take place in November, with no runoff. This means that the candidate with the most votes would becomes mayor until 2010.