Bergen County Republican Finance Chairman Joseph Caruso has resigned in protest to GOP County Chairman Guy Talarico's handling of the 40th legislative district. Talarico dumped nine-term Assemblyman David Russo from the organization line and his backing a local ticket headed by State Senate candidate Todd Caliguire.
Caruso says that when he accepted the finance role, it was "with the express understanding that we would be working to unify the party and to use our resources to mount credible, professional campaigns against Democrats.
"Your decision to instigate and encourage an unnecessary and disastrous Primary Election in District 40 demonstrates to me that you have a far different agenda than the one I originally understood." Caruso wrote in a letter to Talarico. "There is no way a Primary in District 40 makes strategic sense for the GOP. It is difficult to understand how we can allow two hard-working and valuable incumbents €” who have generously supported the Bergen GOP financially — to be challenged by candidates who have demonstrated repeated failure at the polls. The Primary battle that you sanctioned in District 40 has succeeded only in further dividing the party and diverting time, money and attention from real opportunities to mount challenges in other districts and towns."
Personal agendas are hurting Republicans throughout the state as they seek to regain control of the State Senate, Caruso says.
"I do not wish to waste my time and effort bolstering personal agendas and feeding vendettas. Nor do I wish to watch the money I have helped raise for the BCRO — which has amounted to a considerable sum — be squandered beating up on fellow Republicans," said Caruso. "I do not wish to be party to efforts that only make the Democrats’ job easier in November."
Talarico is backing Caliguire, a former Freeholder who ran for County Executive and Governor, for the seat of retiring State Sen. Henry McNamara. He is also supporting Caliguire's running mates for Assembly: '06 U.S. Senate candidate John Ginty and Wayne Councilman Joseph Schweighardt.
The organization line in Essex and Passaic counties went to Senate candidate Kevin O'Toole, an Assemblyman; Russo and Wayne Mayor Scott Rumana for the Assembly.