Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin said today that Gov. Corzine’s choice of state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) for the new position of lieutenant governor will not win Corzine “one additional vote.”
“Assuming it’s official, I don’t see any positive gain for Corzine. Loretta’s strength is in her senatorial district, which is District 37,” said Yudin. “Anyone who’s going to vote for Corzine out of District 37 would have voted for Corzine whether Loretta is on the ticket or not.”
Factoring into Corzine’s pick was Weinberg's reputation as a good government reformer. The corruption bust of dozens of public officials, politicians and operatives yesterday injected ethics into the gubernatorial race as a key issue. Moreover, the gubernatorial election will bump up against the corruption trial of former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joe Ferriero, who fought tooth and nail with Weinberg throughout much of his ten year tenure.
Yudin, however, downplayed Weinberg’s record on reform as based on expediency.
“Any politician who speaks out against corruption is to be complimented, but she ran with [Assembly members] Gordon Johnson and Valerie Vainieri-Huttle. Both of these people were dual office holders,” said Yudin.
Johnson, for his part, is finishing a term on the Englewood council. When he ran, he justified it as a way to keep a Ferriero ally from taking the seat. Huttle remained as a freeholder for about a year after entering the assembly.
“Loretta never spoke out against that. She seems to pick and choose. It seems to me she just went against Ferriero not because of corruption, but because he was a boss who wasn’t letting her get ahead,” he said.
Yudin also hit Weinberg for opposing reopening Pascack Valley Hospital, which has emerged as a contentious political issue in Bergen County.
“Here’s an example of an outrageous position. Loretta, who is now going to be running for LG, is saying to the residents of Bergen County that you don’t deserve a hospital. Instead of getting to a hospital in 5-10 minutes, you’re going to take 30 minutes to get to one.”