A former West Milford councilman has stepped forth to challenge the town’s incumbent Democrat in this year’s mayoral race.
Mike Ramaglia, a 10-year resident of Bald Eagle Village and former member of the town’s council who did not seek reelection in 2012, was selected last week by the West Milford Republican organization to represent the party in this year’s township mayoral election.
He will challenge Democratic mayor Bettina Bieri, who is running for third term this year.
According to the party, Ramaglia was the overwhelming choice for mayor of the Republican County Committee received 14 of the 18 votes cast by the committee. He will join Councilwoman Vivienne Erk and former mayor and councilman Phil Weisbecker on the June 2 Republican primary ballot.
“I am excited to be running with Vivienne and Phil – two people who have done a lot for the community and who know the challenges that West Milford faces, “ Ramaglia, 40, who served on the township council from 2010-2013, said in a statement.
A Pinecliff Lake community resident, Bieri won both of her four-year mayoral terms, first in 2007, in the North Jersey township, which leans Republican with 3,397 registered Democrats, 5,070 registered Republicans and 9,111 independents.
West Milford Republican Party chairman Dan Jurkovic lauded the ticket in a statement.
“I believe the county committee selected a highly qualified, experienced ticket that is ready to hit the ground running and, most importantly, gives the Republican Party the best chance of winning the election in November, which is of course our goal,” said Jurkovic, adding that: “Mike, Vivienne and Phil abided by our party rules; were properly vetted by the county committee and in my opinion — are running for all the right reasons. There are no personal or selfish political agendas intertwined with their campaign.”
Ramaglia is also a former co-chair of GOP Strong, the Republican splinter group that has in the past put up challenges to LD40 Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-40) — though it looks like that will likely not be the case this year.