On the ballot next year, Bergen County Sheriff Leo McGuire will be sandwiched between county executive and freeholder candidates in what are expected to be tight, hotly contested races.
But McGuire says the sheriff's race will be different.
"The office of the sheriff, as a constitutional office, is not viewed upon as a political football that other positions might be regarded as," said McGuire, who plans to seek a third three-year term in 2010. "And while we each advocate for our individual parties and support candidates, politics has no place in the sheriff's office."
Right now, there are two Republicans who have expressed an intention to run against McGuire for sheriff: Emerson Police Chief Michael Saudino, who is about to become president of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association; and Dominick Polifrone, an ex-ATF agent who took down Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski, a mafia hitman from Dumont.
Saudino confirmed that he is running, but wanted to keep the rhetoric down for now.
"It's early in the game and I'm the last guy to sling mud," he said, adding "I don't believe the Bergen County taxpayers are getting our money's worth. I think there's too much money being spent and we're not getting enough in return."
Polifrone could not be reached for comment.
McGuire says that he deserves to be reelected because he's clamped down on overtime, improved the office's technology and brought in three undersheriffs who each have master's degrees and at least 25 years of experience in law enforcement.
"My administration… has been doing the job, doing it on a high level, and we deserve another three years," he said.
McGuire was an Oakland Councilman and police officer when he unseated Republican Sheriff Joel Trella in 2004. He was easily re-elected in 2007.