While most Bergen County Democrats don’t expect that incumbent Freeholders Elizabeth Calabrese and James Carroll will lose party support at next Thursday’s convention, Carroll acknowledges the possibility.
“I think anybody’s seat could be in jeopardy. It’s a wide open, transparent operation. There are a lot of names out there. People have a lot of opportunities to pick and choose. If for some reason the county committee feels I haven’ done the job I was sent here to do, sure I could be in jeopardy,” he said.
This convention is different than recent intra-party contests when the party was ruled by former Chairman Joseph Ferriero, who stepped down after his indictment on corruption charges. Ferriero selected the candidates, and opposition tended to be nominal.
This time, Chairman Michael Kasparian has thrown his personal support behind Northvale Mayor John Hogan, but that does not make him a shoo-in for the spot.
There are eight candidates competing for three seats, one of which is held by retiring Freeholder Tomas Padilla. Although the six non-incumbents who remain in the race came forward hoping to fill Padilla’s term, in her own withdrawal from the field of potential candidates earlier this week, former Freeholder Julie O’Brien cited a fear that incumbents could lose the line as a reason why she decided not to run.
“I’m always concerned. I’m concerned about every election I get into. I hope I fulfill the desires and wants of this particular constituency, but I guess I’ll find out on the night of March 4th,” he said.
Five other Democrats are seeking the Freeholder post: Westwood Mayor John Birkner, former Ridgefield Councilman Rob Kovic, Bergen County College Trustee Cid Wilson, a retired NJCU professor Pargellan McCall, and Cliffside Park Green Committee Chairman Sabastian Belfon.