One advantage to the snow-related cancellation of the Bergen County Democratic convention: it gives party leaders more time to recruit a challenger to U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage). As of yesterday, Bergen Democrats still didn’t have a candidate in the fifth district. Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Paramus) said earlier this month that he would not run against Garrett.
Camille Abate, a civil rights attorney who ran off the line for Congress against Paul Aronsohn and Dennis Shulman in the 2006 and 2008 Democratic primaries, respectively, was expected to run this time. Democrats have not heard from her, and she has not filed any campaign committee.
Sources say that Bergen Democrats will not go with Tod Theise, so far the only announced candidate against Garrett. Theise is a former aide to Essex County Executive James Trefffinger and a onetime West Orange GOP Chairman. After losing a 2003 State Assembly race to John McKeon (D-West Orange) and Mims Hackett (D-Orange), Theise moved to Warren County, switched parties, and ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic Freeholder candidate last year.
One possible candidate is Westwood Mayor John Birkner, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Bergen County Freeholder.