By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog
According to sources close to the prospective candidate, former Assembly Majority Leader Paul DiGaetano is about to formally challenge Bob Yudin‘s chairmanship of the BCRO, possibly as soon as next week.
Long rumored to be running, DiGaetano has held off on an official announcement during the party’s 2016 candidate selection process. The speculation appears to be coming to an end as our Save Jersey sources relayed that DiGaetano continues making the rounds at Bergen GOP events and his entrance into the BCRO Chairman Race is “imminent,” likely to come within in the next week or two.
For now, it does not appear as if any other challengers look likely to emerge which will set up an interesting one-on-one battle for the seat. Wyckoff Mayor Kevin Rooney bowed out this week and endorsed the incumbent. Yudin has also already been endorsed by Senators Cardinale and O’Toole. The Cardinale endorsement comes as no surprise, however, O’Toole had endorsed Yudin challenger Anthony Rottino in 2012, meaning the endorsement could have more due to his acrimonious relationship with DiGaetano rather than full-blooded support of Yudin.
Yudin is not going down without a fight. Despite a string of electoral losses, his support appears to be rebounding after reaching a low point immediately after the last election. It would not be the first time Yudin has rebounded from a seemingly poor position defeating Anthony Rottino in 2012.
With Cardinale, O’Toole and now Rooney in his corner, the race may divide strongly along geographical lines with the northern portion of the county coming in heavy for Yudin and the southern LD36 corridor responding positively to DiGaetano. DiGaetano represented southern Bergen County in the legislature for nearly 20 years and continues to enjoy great support in the region. The wild card in the race? The same as it would be in a countywide general: the middle of the county.
For now, sources say it is a matter of “when” and not “if” DiGaetano will enter the race. When the official announcement comes down, Save Jersey will be there to cover the race all the way to June.