Robert Kugler, who was temporarily relieved of his duties as Saddle Brook police chief after the attorney general charged him with official misconduct, won a resounding victory in the Republican primary for Bergen County Sheriff.
He defeated Harry Shortway, Jr., the 83-year-old mayor of Midland Park.
Kugler will now face the Democratic incumbent, Anthony Cureton, in the general election.
In March, Kugler was charged with ordering police escorts for a funeral home he owns.
He faces a mandatory five-year prison term after the state attorney general’s office charged him with using police escorts for funerals at the Kugler Funeral Home in Saddle Brook.
Prosecutors allege that the funeral home did not reimburse he municipality for any costs incurred and said the use of police vehicles is in violation of a township ordinance.
The Bergen County Prosecutor took control of the local police department, effective today.
Kugler was also charged with conspiracy and the corruption of public resources.
Despite the allegations, Bergen County Republicans picked Kugler as their candidate. He defeated Shortway at the party convention by a vote of 269-98, 73%-27%.
Kugler mounted a campaign for the Democratic nomination for sheriff after Michael Saudino resigned in 2018 but lost the convention by a wide margin to the party choice, Anthony Cureton. He ran as an independent, winning 13,203 votes (4%) countywide.
He became a Republican in 2019.
Former Cresskill Councilwoman Simone Signounis was unopposed in her bid as the GOP candidate for Bergen County Surrogate. She will face longtime incumbent Michael Dressler in the general election.