Freeholder Rob Hermansen won the backing of the Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO) tonight.
He will have the line with Peg Watkins.
The victory represented one each from a divided party, with members usually denying publicly but siding behind the scenes with either Bergen County Executive Kathe Donovan or BCRO Chairman Bob Yudin.
Watkins campaigned for the party’s support with attorney John Ginty. Sources say the team had Yudin’s tacit backing. Hermansen roughly had the Donovan wing of the party.
The two came together tonight.
In defeating his fierce foe, Yudin, Hermansen called for unity as he faces re-election against Democrats energized by countywide wins last year.
“I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” Hermansen told the crowd of GOP committee members. “The process is alive and well. Thank you for doing a big favor for me. These last two weeks were very hard for me. I don’t even think my wife knows what I look like right now.”
The incumbent freeholder thanked the BCRO.
“Today starts a new day,” Hermansen said. “I’m going to tell you right now, today, tonight, water is under the bridge. We need to be together, all of us. Those who were making calls against, those making calls for, today we need to join together. I am ready to offer an olive branch to anyone from the other side who didn’t want me to win. I promise you I will bust my tail.”
Hermansen beckoned Yudin and state Sen. Gerald Cardinale, (R-39), Demarest, to be the first to sign the petitions for freeholder with himself and his running mate, Watkins.
“Democracy at work,” said Yudin.
A strong Yudin supporter, the veteran Cardinale stood by the chairman tonight while applauding the results as a win for the GOP.
He said of course he planned to sign the petitions.
“It’s not unusual to have a spirited campaign,” Cardinale said. “We now have two candidates and we have a lot of energy. Now we have to focus it.”
He said the wounded Yudin deserves praise.
“We faced an eviction from this building where we now stand before Bob Yudin.” said the senator. “We faced debt. He raised money for our successful campaigns that enabled us to successfully get our message to the public.”