Although the leadership of the Bergen County Republican Organization has marginalized former freeholder Todd Caliguire and his potential county executive candidacy, state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-ridge) said that the Democrats don’t believe the Republican field has truly settled.
“The conservative wing of the Republican Party in these types of primaries are usually successful. And Caliguire has proven that in the past,” he said.
Democrats have every reason to hope for internal Republican strife. Last week, The Record’s Charles Stile wrote that Democrats feared a Republican Party united behind Kathleen Donovan, a popular moderate county clerk. Donovan, a Rutherford native, is expected to perform well in the blue collar towns in the southern part of the county that comprise Sarlo’s district – sometimes socially conservative, but Democratic-leaning areas.
In 2006, Caliguire narrowly beat Donovan for the Republican nomination for county executive, only to lose to incumbent Dennis McNerney in the general election.
Sarlo also cast doubt on Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin’s contention that Gov. Christopher Christie wants Caliguire to step aside and let Donovan run unchallenged because the two men are friends.
“You cannot deny a strong relationship between Christie and Caliguire. It would be a very uncomfortable conversation for Christie to tell Caliguire to get out,” he said.