The New Jersey Globe projects that perennial candidate and former Freeholder Todd Caliguire has defeated Fort Lee realtor Linda Barba in the primary for Bergen County Executive. As of 11:28 p.m., Caliguire had 60% of the vote to Barba’s 40%.
Caliguire’s slate of county commissioner candidates – Doug Holden, Ronald Lin, and Dierdre Paul – were also victorious against Barba’s running mates, Paul Duggan, Angelique Hakim, and Mary Guinchard.
The county executive primary was a contentious one, with Caliguire running on the Bergen GOP line and Barba running alongside congressional candidate Frank Pallotta. Caliguire will take on two-term county executive James Tedesco, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, while his commissioner running mates will run against Democratic incumbents Mary Amoroso, Germaine Ortiz, and Thomas Sullivan.
Back in 2007, Caliguire was behind a race-baiting mailer targeting then-State Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove), who is half Korean – something that could come back to haunt Caliguire 15 years later in a county that has a huge Asian American population.
The board of commissioners currently has a 7-0 Democratic majority. But while Republicans haven’t held any countywide offices since 2016, Jack Ciattarelli held Gov. Phil Murphy to a 52-47% win in the county in 2021, and some Republicans are optimistic that 2022 may be the year they claw some ground back.