Failed Sussex sheriff’s candidate switches parties

When he ran for Sussex County sheriff as a Democrat in 2007, Wayne Yahm lost to then six-term incumbent Sheriff Robert E. Untig by a 58 to 42 percent margin, making him the “most successful” Democratic Party candidate that year in heavily Republican Sussex, in his words.

Membership in a perpetually losing party organization held little interest for Yahm, however, as he digested his loss a year and a half after the fact and decided to change parties.

On Wednesday, Yahm delivered an affiliation declaration form to the Commissioner of Registrations Office in Newton, switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party.

After experiencing the Democratic Party organization, “I have come to the realization that my ideals on how to make New Jersey and Sussex County a better place to live and raise a family are best served by being a member the Republican Party,” Yahm said in a statement.

“The Sussex County GOP’s objectives of smaller government, reduced spending and borrowing, lower taxes and personal responsibility are more in line with my roots and personal beliefs.”

Yahm chalked up further Democratic Party disillusion to Gov. Jon Corzine’s State of the State address on Tuesday.

The governor, Yahm said, “did nothing to address my fears that he will, in his budget message for FY 2010, do the same thing to rural policing that he did in FY 2009 – attempt to cut it.I am a person of action and not just talk or wishful thinking. The issues facing Sussex County are by and large ignored by State Government and if not for the dedication and willingness of our Republican elected officials to challenge the status quo we would be in a far worse position.”

He said nothing about plotting another go at Untig in next year’s primary, only that he plans to do everything he can to assist the GOP.

Employed by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Yahm acknowledged that in his sheriff’s race Republicans tried to brand him as a tool of departing Democratic Party boss Joe Ferriero, which he laughes off, saying, “My decision to change parties has nothing to do with my Hackensack connection. …When I first started working in Bergen, it was a Republican county.”

A fan of former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, Yahm said Christie wowed him with a speech he delivered in June to the New Jersey Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association.

“That speech touched me personally as a law enforcement officer,” Yahm said.

Failed Sussex sheriff’s candidate switches parties