Former Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin may be looking to return to politics. According to a source, Yudin is currently considering entering the race for Bergen County freeholder. In November, two seats on the board will be up for election.
According to the source, if Yudin and his likely running mate Midland Park Mayor Harry Shortway do run for freeholder, it will be without the blessing of the Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO). Currently, Republicans Ray Cottiers, Eric Kulmala, and John Driscoll have announced that they will seek the BCRO line. The two candidates who do receive the county line will be announced after the BCRO convention later this month.
Yudin’s likely decision to forego the county line and head straight for the June 2017 primary stems from a deep rift within the BCRO. In June 2016, current Chairman Paul DiGaetano won election, ousting Yudin from his post. That race was a heated one with Republicans from Bergen County lining up between either Yudin or DiGaetano. After DiGaetano was named the victor, the rift grew deeper as Yudin and his allies continually claimed that DiGaetano’s candidacy was a self-serving one stemming from his desire to become the next senator from New Jersey’s 40th legislative district. DiGaetano fired back that his decision to challenge Yudin stemmed from a desire to change the direction of the BCRO after significant losses in recent elections. In February, DiGaetano announced that he would officially be pursuing the senate seat in the 40th district.
Before his departure from the BCRO, Yudin supported the already announced ticket in New Jersey’s 40th legislative district fronted by Kristin Corrado for state Senate and anchored by Assemblyman Kevin Rooney and former Wyckoff Mayor Chris DePhillips. In the weeks leading up to that race and since his election, DiGaetano stated that he was not supporting the ticket.
Reached by Phone, Yudin told PolitickerNJ he did not wish to comment on the freeholder election at this time. However, when asked if he would deny the rumor of his potential pursuit of office, Yudin said he would not. Yudin remains a staunch Corrado supporter and said that his current focus is on supporting her ticket.
“I am dedicated to seeking the election of Kristin Corrado for the senate, and Kevin Rooney and Chris DePhillips for the Assembly. Mr. DiGaetano has done everything that I warned everyone about when he ran for the election of chairman. He is not interested in what is best for the Republican Party. He is only interested in what is best for him in getting himself elected to state senate in district 40,” Yudin told PolitickerNJ.
Yudin also expressed concern with DiGaetano’s support of the Republican challenger in New Jersey’s 39th legislative district: Former Cresskill Councilman John McCann. McCann is running against 37-year incumbent state Senator Gerry Cardinale. In the lead-up to the chairman’s election, Cardinale was a vocal Yudin supporter.
In addition to helping secure a win for Corrado’s ticket, Yudin said his current focus also extends to securing Cardinale’s re-election. Following that, told PolitickerNJ he feels the BCRO needs to “rebuild” by “purging Mr. DiGaetano and his minions” from the county organization. Time will tell if Yudin’s vision of rebuilding the party includes making an official run for the freeholder board.
All seven seats on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders are currently held by Democrats.