By Matthew Gilson | The Save Jersey Blog
As has been widely reported, Save Jerseyans, Freeholder John Felice will not be seeking re-election in Bergen County, and announcement that was made official at Tuesday night’s Bergen County Republican Committee (BCRO) meeting.
Felice, who was first elected in the 2010 Republican sweep, won re-election in 2013 by a slim margin over current County Executive Jim Tedesco and former Republican Freeholder John Mitchell. The top vote getter in 2013, Freeholder Maura DeNicola, has signaled her intention to run for re-election along with Sheriff Mike Saudino.
What is not being reported widely are the reasons behind the exit of Felice.
A veteran Bergen Republican source close to Felice confirmed to Save Jersey that the departing freeholder was being heavily courted to run for a third-term but could not be convinced to seek reelection largely due to the ongoing dysfunction inside the BCRO.
With an unclear future for the party further muddied by Chairman Bob Yudin‘s expected face-off against at least two challengers this June, Felice did not appear comfortable running with a divided party in what would be a tough election cycle even with a united party. Infighting has undoubtedly made recruitment increasingly difficult for the BCRO, particularly in the wake of two straight cycles of lopsided county-wide losses which, again, are partly attributable to personality conflicts and turf wars.
For more up-to-date background on the BCRO leadership dispute, check out Matt Rooney‘s exclusive one-on-one with Chairman Yudin right here.
Republicans are now tasked with recruiting four more county candidates, two additional Freeholder candidates, as well as candidates for clerk and surrogate. No easy task to be sure, but stay tuned as we continue to cover the situation.