GOP having a hard time finding candidates in the 38th

District 38 in Bergen County leaned Republican until 2001, when legislative redistricting added Fair Lawn and Fort Lee, both strong Democratic towns. Republican Senator Louis Kosco lost his seat to Democrat Joseph Coniglio, and Democrats picked up an Assembly seat. Popular Republican Assemblywoman Rose Heck was just narrowly re-elected. Coniglio beat Heck in the 2003 Senate race, and Democrats won her seat in the lower house. Paramus GOP Chairman John Baldino, a talented rising star, ran for the Assembly in 2005, and lost despite an aggressive campaign. Now, both parties view the 38th as a Democratic district, and the GOP is finding it difficult to recruit candidates. The top choice to run against Coniglio is Dr. Mehmet Oz, a nationally prominent cardiothoracic surgeon from Cliffside Park with an ability to raise considerably more money than Coniglio and the Bergen Democrats. But Oz seems highly unlikely to run for the Legislature, and the GOP might wind up backing the 74-year-old Heck — perhaps their strongest possible candidate. Four Republicans are considering bids for the Assembly against incumbents Robert Gordon and Joan Voss: South Hackensack Township Committeewoman Rosina Romano, who became the first Republican to win local office in several years when she won last November; John Driscoll, a Paramus Republican activist who ran unsuccessfully for Councilman in 2005; Fort Lee GOP Municipal Chairwoman Judith Fisher; South Hackensack GOP Municipal Chairwoman Renee Czarnecki, the wife of the former Mayor; and Joe Assissi of Elmwood Park, who gained some noteriety last fall when a campaign worker videotaped him allegedly tearing down Democratic campaign signs.

GOP having a hard time finding candidates in the 38th