Rumors of the political demise of John Rooney and Charlotte Vandervalk were not to be. After divisive Republican primaries for Bergen County Executive and Freeholder last spring (the incumbents backed the losing candidates), their were public threats on election night that the two veterans would find themselves in a 2007 primary fight.
In 2005, Rooney and Vandervalk held off primary challenges from Upper Saddle River Mayor Kenneth Gabbert and former Pascack Valley Board of Education member Jeffrey Hering, by a wide margin; after redistricting in 2001, they narrowly defeated another incumbent, Guy Talarico, now the Bergen County GOP Chairman. Rooney has been an Assemblyman since 1983 and Vandervalk has been in office since 1991.
Rooney's vulnerability increased last November when he lost re-election as Mayor of Northvale, a job he's held for most of the last thirty years.
Insiders had listed '05 gubernatorial candidate Robert Schroeder as a possible candidate, but an early endorsement by State Senator Gerald Cardinale (never a huge fan of the two Assemblymembers) and complete disarray among Bergen Republicans) seemed to end the prospects of a real fight. In the end, nobody filed against Rooney and Vandervalk — who will return if they can get by a Democratic challenge in this reliably Republican (although not as reliable as it once was) district.