A slate for New Jersey legislative district 40–Passaic County Clerk Kristin Corrado for senate along with Wyckoff Mayor Kevin Rooney and former Wyckoff Mayor Christopher DePhillips for Assembly–was announced in back in April. When the Corrado slate announced their intentions to run, they also announced the endorsement of all of the then-serving GOP chairs in the four counties that LD40 spans: Morris, Essex, Passaic and Bergen.
However, that announcement came before a shakeup in the Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO) made Paul DiGaetano the new chairman.
PolitickerNJ spoke with DiGaetano and he said that, because he was not a part of the decision-making process that created the Corrado ticket, the county is unlikely to support Corrado, Rooney and DePhillips as a united slate going into 2017.
“As far as we are concerned in Bergen, it is wide open. I have been contacted by a number of other people who are interested and they wanted to know if that was some kind of deal that was inclusive of Bergen and I told them directly that it was not. It is an open question as far as Bergen is concerned,” DiGaetano told PolitickerNJ.
According to DiGaetano, because both Assemblyman Scott Rumana and Assemblyman David Russo have yet to be nominated to judgeships, the BCRO is still not considering the seats officially open. He said that if they do open up, Bergen County plans to look at each of the candidates individually rather than as a unified slate.
“I don’t know if we would consider a ticket,” DiGaetano said of the BCRO. “Any of those individuals are welcome to talk to us in the Bergen leadership and make their case. But, as far as a slate, I would doubt very much that anybody would be open to a ticket or a slate that was put together six or eight months ago. Individually, everyone is welcome to make their case about if they are the right person for the job if, in fact, there are openings. As far as accepting a ticket or a slate, that is not likely.”
However, according to candidate Rooney, the slate stands together. When asked if he would consider pursuing the seats individually, Rooney said that the ticket will not consider that option.
“No, we are a unified team. All three of us are running a unified team, we are extremely supportive of one another and we remain that way,” Rooney said. “We are fully committed. We are going to do what we need to do in our endeavor to be successful both with the two assembly seats and the one senate seat.”
PolitckerNJ also spoke with Essex County GOP chairman Al Barlas who said his county’s organization remained fully supportive of the Corrado ticket.
“As far as I know, those that supported the ticket have continued to support the ticket. I can tell you that, here in Essex, we support the ticket,” Barlas said. “In the last conversation I had with the three of them–with Corrado, DePhillips and Rooney last night–the three of them are all committed to running together. The ticket is the ticket and that ticket is unified.”
According to the Essex chairman, DiGaetano’s hesitation stems from his own rumored desired to pursue the senate seat himself.
“I think that the big thing here is that Paul doesn’t support the ticket because for four years Paul has been saying he is going to run for state senate. It is not really surprising to anyone that Paul doesn’t like this ticket. I don’t know why it is a shock to anybody that Paul doesn’t like the ticket,” Barlas said.
DiGaetano has not confirmed any intention to pursue the senate seat.
On Monday, Corrado held a successful fundraiser in Totowa for her senate election campaign. According to Rooney, both he and DePhillips were present to show the support of their slate.
PolitickerNJ attempted to reach both Morris County Republican Chairman John Sette and Passaic County Republican Chairman John Traier for comment but they could not be contacted by press time. Corrado also could not be contacted.