HACKENSACK – Former Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano has defeated Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin to become the new leader of the county GOP organization.
“I have no intention this evening to discuss the tenor of this race. It is not appropriate,” DiGaetano said. “But I will tell you that this team of candidates conducted themselves in an upstanding manner. We would like to wish our outgoing chairman Bob Yudin continued good health.”
DiGaetano’s win comes after a highly contentious and hard-fought battle against the current chairman. Though DiGaetano was eventually named the victor, the lead-up to the race has been rife with struggle as the two BCRO factions have battled over which of the two candidates could best serve the group as chairman. The campaigns have included everything from accusations of death threats to claims of ethnic slurs to claims that backroom deals had been made. And, in an unusual turn for a county party chair’s race, the opposing sides have been blasting organization members with mailers in an effort to swing last minute votes. While Yudin had the support of the likes of state Senator Kevin O’Toole and state Senator Gerry Cardinale, it was not enough to stave off the insurgency led by DiGaetano.
“This is not about filling a place on a stage, it is about moving our Republican Party forward and getting our candidates elected,” DiGaetano said.
The reorganization also showed a change in other leadership positions for the BCRO with members of DiGaetano’s slate coming out victorious over member’s of Yudin’s slate. Wyckoff Mayor Kevin Rooney was defeated in his run for deputy chair by DiGaetano running mate Anna Baldino, Brendan Quinones was named deputy vice chair over John Mitchell, Betty Krystniak won secretary over Judith Fisher, and Raymond Herr was named sergeant-at-arms over Robert Taschler .
Outgoing chairman Yudin spoke briefly after his loss, thanking his supporters.