In Bergen GOP war, Ortiz slaps Cardinale back

Bergen County GOP Chairman Rob Ortiz, facing a runoff election with Bob Yudin, says that State Sen. Gerald Cardinale was "misinformed" when he criticized the incumbent for changing the election rules.

Read the letter:

June 15, 2008

Dear County Committee Member,

Over the course of the last several days, you may have received correspondence from Senator Gerry Cardinale regarding the decision to make the Chairman's Run-Off Election open to all county committee members.

Senator Cardinale was misinformed and I want to make sure you have all the facts.

The Election Committee met on June 5, 2008 to set certain rules for the vote, among which was the decision to have voting from 4 to 8 pm. These decisions were reflected in minutes of the meeting. After the election on June 10th, it became clear that it was necessary to have a runoff.

The minutes of the June 5th meeting were reviewed and there was nothing noted about who would be able to vote in a runoff.

Several members of the committee were in the counting room during the June 10th election and, while they remember that the issue was discussed, there were different recollections as to what, if anything, had been decided.

Mr. Yudin's representative in the room, (District 38 Chairman Rich Miller) who was also on the Election Committee as a District Chair, was insistent that the committee voted to allow everyone to vote. Several other committee members did not remember that to be the case. One committee member was sure that only the June 10th voters could vote in a runoff.

Ultimately, it seemed that the people in the counting room deferred to the single recollection and that was what was announced.

This announcement, however, WAS NOT the result of a committee meeting or vote on the 10th.

After the decision was announced, Mr. Yudin himself complained loudly and stated that he believed everyone should vote. Also, later that evening there were grumblings that County Committee members who did not vote on June 10th could sue for the right to vote.

Certainly, they were never advised that if they did not vote on the 10th, they would be precluded from voting in a runoff should there be the need for one.

At the end of the day, after considering the following:

(1) that there was no decision reflected in the committee minutes, nor any item in the BCRO By-Law's that stated the rule in case of run-off,

(2) that there was no consensus of recollection among the committee as to what happened,

(3) that the candidates themselves wanted everyone to vote, and

(4) the due process implications of precluding county committee members from voting without giving them prior notice, I decided that it was better to err on the side of inclusiveness.

This was not in derogation of the Election Committee, nor should it be seen as any sort of affront. The committee served with dignity and integrity and has the respect and appreciation of the Organization and of the involved parties. The unusual circumstances of this matter however, dictated this decison be made. I note that in speaking to many members of the 9 member committee, if the vote were re-taken today, a majority of the committee would likely vote to have everyone eligible to vote.

No rules were changed, because no rules were ever set. I don't think it's a productive exercise to spend time and resources to preclude people from voting, especially when both contestants have publicly stated their preference to allow everyone to vote.

This election will determine the future of the Republican Party in Bergen County, and the voice of every County Committee person must be heard.

Please cast your ballot next Tuesday, June 17 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at BCRO.

Sincerely,


Robert A. Ortiz, Jr.
Bergen County Republican Chairman
In Bergen GOP war, Ortiz slaps Cardinale back