By Matthew Gilson | The Save Jersey Blog
Matt Rooney already gave you ten New Jersey races to watch statewide on Tuesday night, Save Jerseyans.
Without further ado, here are ten worth closely tracking in Bergen County alone, starting with the Garden State’s single most consequential 2014 contest:
1.) County Executive/Freeholder
Nothing else comes close with control of the most powerful office the most county at stake. Incumbent Kathe Donovan has seen the gap between herself and Freeholder Jim Tedesco close in recent weeks and the race may be too close to call. The under card is the battle to take out incumbent freeholder Democrats David Ganz and Joan Voss waged by Republicans Bernadette Walsh and Bob Avery.
2.) Can Scott Garrett win Bergen?
Despite a mini-scare, it appears that Roy has definitely Cho-ked this race away. However, it still remains to be seen whether Garrett will carry the Bergen portion of the district. If he does, it may put this race out of play for 2016 and return Roy Cho to trying on new empty suits.
3.) North Arlington
A swing town and southernmost in the county, Save Jersey previewed this race with an interview with Councilman Dan Pronti who is seeking re-election. The town will prove critical to running up numbers for Kathe Donovan in her south Bergen base, and a win by Council Bianchi over Mayor Massa along with his running mates would put to end eight years of Democratic rule.
As important as North Arlington and the south is to Donovan, Tedesco will need to run up numbers in the town he formerly served as mayor to have a shot at what would still be considered an upset. A popular incumbent Democratic mayor headlines the ticket but the race is a battle right to the end.
After warring Democrats literally came to blows in the primary, Republicans will once again seek to capitalize on a fractured Democratic Party to score a victory. After securing their first two council seats last year, a sweep this year by Councilman Kelemen and his team would give Republicans control of Bogota for the first time since the Lonegan years.
6.) Englewood Cliffs
Republicans prevailed in this swing town, situated in an area of a county dominated otherwise by Democrats, after an extended court battle last year. This year, Republicans look to gain control of the town which could be a huge advantage countywide giving the growing population.
7.) Park Ridge
A battle for control always guarantees a good race, and after a sweep last year brought Republicans to 3-3, they will go for a 5-1 advantage propelled by strong candidates. The town sits in the heart of District 39 and would be a nice pickup for Team Cardinale.
A reliably Republican town, a three-way battle for mayor has heated up in the recent weeks. Republican Councilwoman Deirdre Dillon takes on former Democratic Freeholder Julie O’Brien and former Mayor Rich Muti who is running as an independent. While Republicans will handily win the council seats, the mayor’s race is one to watch. Also, Republican Councilman Ken Tyburczy is rumored to be the front-runner for the freeholder race next year barring a huge slip up.
After losing all of their Republicans in 2012, the Ridgefield GOP stormed back with a sweep in 2013 led by former councilmen Warren Vincentz and Angus Todd. This year they go for control with their electoral sights set on Mayor Anthony Suarez next year. FYI – this is also the hometown of current GOP freeholder candidate Bob Avery.
10.) Rutherford Board of Education
Shameless plug (and disclaimer) here but as campaign manager I would be remiss not to mention it. No incumbent has lost on the Rutherford Board of Education since 1999, but after coming within 100 votes in 2010, Frank Wilson looks poised to knock off the state’s only elected official from the Green Party, Gary Novosielski. If you know anyone in Rutherford, please let them know Frank is the guy!