Tomas Padilla is the lone Latino member of the Bergen County Board of Freeholders, and his decision not to seek re-election in 2010 — and the apparent decision to run Julie O'Brien in his place — appears to have angered some Democrats who want potential Latino candidates to receive consideration. At the annual Latino American Democratic Association Volunteer Christmas Breakfast on Sunday, Bergen County Executive Dennis C. McNerney introduced O'Brien, who narrowly lost her bid for re-election to the Freeholder Board last month, as the candidate for Padilla's seat. Leaders of the Latino community, sources say, are planning to meet with Bergen County Democratic officials, to urge that the party nominate a Latino candidate.
One possible response from the Democratic leadership: O'Brien lost by .6%, and might have won had Hispanic turnout been better in the 2009 general election.
Vernon Walton, the only African American Bergen County Freeholder, also lost his bid for re-election. O'Brien and Walton were defeated by Republicans Robert Hermansen and John Driscoll.