Englewood Democrats have endorsed Frank Huttle as their candidate for mayor.
Huttle, a tax attorney who is married to Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood), screened against Englewood Councilman Scott Reddin.
The municipal Democratic committee vote was 18-10 in Huttle’s favor.
Huttle is also president of BergenPAC and a trustee of Hackensack University Medical Center.
Although Reddin was the only other mayoral candidate who screened, some local insiders still expect retiring mayor Michael Wildes to back a different candidate in the June Democratic primary.
Reddin said that the committee loss will not stop his campaign, despite Huttle supporters' hope that he will withdraw
Huttle and Reddin are both members of a reform faction that has often found itself at odds with Wildes and his close ally, former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero. Having both reform Democrats in the primary could create an opening for a candidate supported by Wildes.
“I did better than I thought, actually,” he said. “I have more supporters than Frank Huttle, so Frank should be thinking about stepping down.”
The committee also backed Lynne Algrant, a political newcomer with a background in diversity consulting in Bergen County and Cleveland, Ohio, to replace outgoing councilman Gordon Johnson, who's also an assemblyman.
Whoever wins the primary will likely coast to an easy general election victory in this Democratic stronghold.
Wildes issued a pointed statement in opposition to Huttle's candidacy, bringing up his partnership in the politically connected law firm of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Wisler, LLP.
"I guess I'm not really clear on how the so-called anti-pay-to-play 'reform' Democratic County Committee in Englewood has voted to reject one of their own, who raises no money from special interests, to instead back a powerful lawyer who is a partner in what is often singled out to be one of the biggest pay-to-play development law firms in the state, and in fact was at the center of the EnCap debacle," he said. "It looks like Englewood's reformers only have a problem with development related issues when an immigration attorney is mayor. I wish Mr. Huttle well; it will be a difficult balancing act for him.”