DiGaetano’s response

Former Assembly Majority Leader Paul DiGaetano has responded to a column by The Record’s Alfred Doblin about Bergen County GOP Chairman Bob Yudin. Doblin reports that Yudin promised Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce that he would not support any effort to withdraw organization support for Assembly incumbents in District 40 – and that now Yudin is under some pressure to “break his word.”

The full text of DiGaetano’s letter follows:

Alfred Doblin’s January 9 column alleging that the Bergen County Republican Organization is imploding because of events in Passaic County represents either a lack of understanding of politics or a bias toward the individuals involved with whom the liberal Mr. Doblin finds sympathy.

As the former State Assembly Majority/ Minority Leader who was prominently mentioned in Mr. Doblin’s column, I must report that the Bergen County Republican Organization is alive and well under chairman Bob Yudin and is preparing to deliver a countywide victory for the Republican ticket in November. I cannot say the same about the Passaic County Republicans.

Mr. Yudin did a remarkable job in 2008. After taking the reins of the party in July, Yudin raised more than $275,000 for the county campaign. His county slate out performed the top of the ticket — with both the freeholders and the county clerk winning more than 40 of Bergen’s 70 towns. The Bergen County GOP candidates grabbed 48 percent of the vote in 2008 compared to just 20 percent of the vote garnered by the Passaic County GOP candidates, so clearly Bob Yudin has things running much better than Republicans do in either neighboring county Passaic or Essex counties.

Mr. Doblin’s concern about a possible GOP Primary in District 40 is curious and misleading. The job of the county chair is to get Republicans elected in the November and to help select the best candidates possible. The reason primary elections exist is to determine who the party — not newspaper editors — believes is the best choice.. Under the Doblin premise, primaries would not exist and every incumbent would get a free pass no matter how poorly they may be representing their party. If that were the case, parties would never evolve; change would be all but impossible and self-serving political dynasties would be created. Political parties are not, nor should they be in the incumbency protection business.

For the , District 40 represents only six 6 of the 70 communities in Bergen and less than 15 percent of Bergen County’s population. It is the ONLY district in the state where two of the three legislators are also county chairs and is the ONLY district where those chairs awarded themselves the party line for the open Senate/Assembly seats. Yudin is the exception, he holds no public office, nor does he care to.

Further, the Passaic and Essex chairs have steered the overwhelming portion of funds they raised to their individual election accounts while their respective county Republican treasuries remain nearly empty. Year after year, those chairs spend pitifully small amounts on county candidates resulting in NO Republican county officeholders in either Passaic or Essex! Moreover county chairs who are also elected officials are usually timid when it comes to addressing important issues because they fear repercussions to them at the ballot box from special interest groups. This inherent conflict of interest among chairman/office holders is something Mr. Doblin should be addressing, not incumbency protection.

Throughout my 25 years in the Republican Party, self-serving county chairmen would NEVER be accepted, nor should they. If Mr. Doblin’s idea of a “portal to the future” for Republicans is to embrace conflicts of interest and shoddy performance; then the party will surely be on the road to extinction! Rather than accept Doblin’s design, I say let’s take a page out of the past when county chairs had no other agenda, were not legislators, and focused all their fundraising and energy on getting Republicans elected in their county!

DiGaetano’s response