Notes from Passaic Sheriff Screening
Prospective Sheriff Candidates Compete to Run Countywide in Passaic
Two of the most notable standouts in the fray are retired Clifton Lieutenant Patrick Ciser and Frank Feenan, a retired Captain with the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. The other contenders were William Dolinsky, Julio Lopez, and Felix Garcia, the latter having run in 2010 against incumbent Richard Berdnik.
There was some speculation as two whether or not former Sheriff Jerry Speziale would be on hand to toss his hat in the ring, but alas, no letter of intent was submitted from the former Democratic Sheriff.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the event…
At the screening, candidates were given the option to speak for about seven minutes. Ciser, who hails from the same department as the current sherriff, promoted his abilities in self-defense particularly in martial arts, indicating that he is known as “Sensei” in many circles.
Feenan took a more well-rounded route in presenting himself to the GOP County Committee. The former prosecutor highlighted his roots in Passaic County, his involvement in his church, his town, as well as his work as a coach in Paterson.
The county committee response to Feenan was favorable from what I could tell. Unlike Ciser, whose intention to seek the nomination had apparently only become known days before the screening, Feenan has been working the backrooms and party insiders for the past few months, getting to know various county committee members and other people who will be integral to an all-out GOP victory in the county come November. Feenan seems to be gaining traction. A recent internet poll asking “who would you vote for as Sheriff” has been making its way around the county.
While an internet poll is hardly scientific, this one is noteworthy if only because it has 2,100 Facebook shares and nearly 5,700 votes. As of January 30th, it shows Speziale at 6% with 343 votes, incumbent Berdnik at 43% with 2,434, and Feenan at 51% with 2,903.
GOP victory in Passaic County could happen this year, Save Jerseyans, with Governor Christie at the top of the ticket and the right local candidates with solid credentials, affable, able to raise money, and able to rouse the party faithful and also break through in the traditional Democratic bases of Paterson, Clifton, and Passaic.
Indeed, that is precisely what new Chairman John Traier spoke of in his opening remarks at the screening; a fundamental re-branding of the party in Passaic in order to make it viable on the county level once again.