CARLSTADT – Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan returned to her South Bergen roots to open up her campaign’s Legislative District 36 offices on Friday night.
“We’ve got 53 days to go,” Donovan, the Republican incumbent, said before an overflow campaign storefront crowd on Hackensack Street in Carlstadt. “When I ran four years ago, I made four promises: keep taxes below the rate of inflation, freeze [taxes] for the first year, audit every department for waste and look for where people hadn’t paid the money due to the county. I have kept every promise I’ve made, and not everybody does that.”
An array of Bergen Republican officials were present at the event, including Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO) Chairman Bob Yudin, state Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39), Bergen County Freeholder Maura DeNicola (R – Franklin Lakes) and the two GOP freeholder candidates, Bob Avery and Bernadette Coghlan-Walsh.
“In the past, there has been friction between the County Executive and myself. I want you to understand that [after] we finally got together in December and we worked this out, we are united in all respects,” said Yudin, referring to the public peace pact Yudin and Donovan announced at the end of last year. “The BCRO is one thousand percent behind Kathe and our two freeholder candidates.”
New Jersey’s Legislative District 36 includes the South Bergen municipalities of Lyndhurst, North Arlington and Rutherford, where Donovan grew up, went to high school, and currently resides, respectively. Conventional political wisdom holds that Democratic candidates, including Donovan’s challenger, Freeholder Jim Tedesco, do better south of Route 4, while Republicans rule to the north of the road.
But Donovan told PolitickerNJ that she doesn’t feel she has to tweak her message in the final weeks of the campaign to connect with South Bergen voters.
“I have worked hard for everything I’ve ever been able to achieve in my life. I’ve worked since I’m 14 years old,” said Donovan. “My message to someone in Lyndhurst or Franklin Lakes is the same. Nothing has been handed to me. I’ve never had a walk-over election, and I always run like I’m losing even if I’m winning. I’ve always had a competitive ground game in South Bergen, and this year is no different. I hope I’ve earned the trust of the people in South Bergen one more time.”