PATERSON – Clifton Police Lt. Det. Richard Berdnik defeated former Paterson Police Chief Larry Spagnola at tonight’s meeting of the Passaic County Democratic Committee to decide on a nominee for sheriff.
The vote was 138 for Berdnik and 33 for Spagnola.
Hoping to replace former Sheriff Jerry Speziale, who abruptly announced his decision not to pursue re-election, Berdnik will face Republican Felix Garcia of Wayne in the Nov. 2nd general election. Garcia is a former undersheriff.
With the backing of Passaic County Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie heading into tonight’s meeting, Berdnik was a heavy favorite to defeat Spagnola.
“I have faith in our county committee,” Currie told PolitickerNJ.com as he celebrated with the nominee after the vote. “Lt. Berdnik did himself well. He gives us the best chance to win in November.”
“It’s a victory for the whole party,” said Berdnik. “I appreciated all their support.”
Currie accepted Spagnola’s newfound membership in the Democratic Party.
“Some things just don’t work out,” acknowledged Spagnola, who had butted heads hard with Currie in the lead-up.
“All I asked for was that I get a fair shake, and I got one,” added the former chief, who said he doesn’t intend to sue as his lawyer threatened earlier this week.
“They didn’t pick me, that’s their choice.”
He stopped just short of endorsing Berdnik.
“I don’t have a problem with that, that’s where it looks like it’s going, he seems like a nice fella,” said Spagnola.