By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog
New Jersey’s most populous county has new Republican leadership for the first time in eight years, Save Jerseyans.
On Tuesday evening in Hackensack, former Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano defeated incumbent BCRO Chairman Bob Yudin in a high-turnout county committee vote.
It wasn’t close. The challenger amassed 66% of votes cast – 539 votes to Yudin’s 274 – pulling along his slate who averaged in the low-500 vote range:
Deputy Chair: Anna Baldino (Paramus) defeats Kevin Rooney, 515 to 290
Deputy Vice-Chair: Brendan Quinones (Rutherford) defeats John Mitchell, 495 to 307
Secretary: Betty Krystyniak (Dumont) defeats Judith Fisher, 514 to 290
Sergeant-at-Arms: Ray Herr (Bogota) defeats Bob Taschler, 506 to 300
Newly-minted Chairman DiGaetano’s lengthy political career began on Passaic City Council back in 1981 and culminated in his being elected Majority Leader of the General Assembly in 1996. DiGaetano didn’t seek reelection in 2005 to run an unsuccessful campaign for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Outgoing Chairman Yudin first ascended to the chairmanship back on June 17, 2008 when he beat then-incumbent Robert Ortiz, 57% to 43%.
Heading into Tuesday night’s vote, Yudin had received the backing of every Republican legislator representing portions of Bergen County – Assemblymen Scott Rumana and David Russo and state Senator Kevin O’Toole of LD40, as well as Senator Gerry Cardinale and Assemblyman Bob Auth of LD39 – except for Asw. Holly Schepisi (R-39) who, in the closing days of the campaign, told Save Jersey that she was “ashamed” to be affiliated with the BCRO as chairman’s race-related attacked intensified.
DiGaetano will need to start at a sprint. The BCRO’s coffers are nearly empty and two of this cycle’s three county-wide incumbents left the ticket earlier this year citing Yudin’s leadership as a reason for their departure (Freeholder John Felice declined to seek reelection and Sheriff Mike Saudino switched parties).