Former Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano will officially be challenging current Bergen County Republican Organization Chairman Bob Yudin. DiGaetano mailed a letter the members of the BCRO on Wednesday morning announcing his intentions to run during the party’s mid-June election.
“After many discussions with County Committee members and leaders throughout the County, it has become clear that there is a strong desire to change the direction in which our beloved party is heading here in Bergen County,” DiGaetano said in the announcement. “Republicans across the County have wasted far too much energy on infighting, and the Democrats have capitalized on our disarray with increasingly regular wins and with increasing margins of victory. We need to come together and stop the bleeding now, before it is too late.”
In his announcement, he also claimed that his pursuit of the chairmanship would be a be a “positive campaign” without “charades” or a “showy list of endorsements.” Though DiGaetano had previously made it clear that he was looking to pursue the chairmanship, the announcement officially submits his candidacy.
Until earlier this month, the race for BCRO chairman was poised to become a three-person race between Yudin, DiGaetano and Wyckoff Mayor Kevin Rooney. However, Rooney dropped out of the race earlier this month and backed Yudin claiming that the party needed to be united in the face of a strong Democratic opposition and not waste energy on a race for chairman. That announcement whittled the race down to just the current chairman and DiGaetano.
The challenge to Yudin’s chairmanship comes after increased scrutiny following some unsuccessful elections for Bergen County’s Republicans. Last year, Republicans failed to pick up any seats on the county’s freeholder board and lost in LD38, initially seen as one of the most competitive districts in the state.