WESTWOOD – An opportunity for Bergen Republicans to pick up a mayoral seat in Westwood in the aftermath of disturbances among local Democrats can still be gained if the local Westwood GOP puts pen to paper, according to Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO) Chairman Bob Yudin.
“I have had a number of discussions with the Westwood Republican municipal chair and I have made it clear at my county committee meetings that it is inappropriate not to run any Republican candidate in any town,” Yudin said. “I have implored all of my municipal chairs and county committee people in the five or six towns where [Republicans] have no candidates to conduct write-in campaigns so that we can fill those positions. The only remedy to get somebody on the ballot now is a write-in campaign.”
Westwood politics took an interesting turn last month when Democrat incumbent Mayor John Birkner Jr. was kicked off the party line going into the June primary when the Westwood Democratic Committee awarded its nomination to former Councilman Gary Conkling. Birkner is continuing to run for reelection against Conkling.
Yet despite this display of internal disorder among the Westwood Democrats, there is as of yet no Republican candidate lined up to run in the June primary who would then take on the victor of the Democratic struggle in the November general election.
Yudin shot down any speculation that Republicans would use Conkling as a proxy candidate to take out Birkner.
“I want to see a Republican candidate running on a Republican line,” said Yudin. “I don’t feel making deals is proper. That’s misleading the voters, and I don’t approve of it. If there are municipal chairs and county committee people who are not going to run candidates, then they should step aside and we should replace them with people who are willing to put Republican candidates on a Republican line to run in November.”
Cynthia Waneck, the Westwood Republican municipal chair, did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.