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Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler. (Photo: Robert Kugler.)

Kugler will seek GOP nod for Bergen sheriff

Saddle Brook Police Chief wants to take on Cureton

By David Wildstein, January 26 2021 2:00 pm

Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler will seek the Republican nomination for Bergen County Sheriff, setting up a rematch of his 2018 campaign against Democrat Anthony Cureton.

Kugler filed his letter of intent to seek the Bergen County Republican organization endorsement at their convention in March.

“I am very excited to submit my candidacy to the BCRO for consideration in being their candidate for Bergen County Sheriff,” Kugler said.  “I look forward in further expressing my candidacy to all and being a part of BCRO team in this year’s general election”.

He has served as police chief since 1995 and is a 35-year veteran of the Saddle Brook Police Department.  He also serves as his community’s emergency management coordinator.

“Bergen County finds itself at a time which calls for a Sheriff with more than just impeccable law enforcement credentials and experience,” Kugler said. “Bergen County needs and deserves a Sheriff who not only knows how to ensure professional public safety, but someone with long-standing relationships throughout each of our county’s diverse communities and regions to ensure that the law in Bergen County is enforced justly, equally and fairly, both in fact and appearance.”

He touted his record as a career law enforcement officer who has been “pro-active in facilitating and seeding organizational and community-wide concepts of diversity and acceptance, building relationships and networks with community groups and organizations including civic, faith­ based, charitable and many others.”

Kugler switched to the Republican Party in 2019 after initially mounting a bid for the Democratic nomination for sheriff following the resignation of Michael Saudino.

Saudino left with one year remaining in his term after audio tapes of him making racist and homophobic statements were released by WNYC and became front page news.

In late September, election officials ordered a special election for a three-year term.

Bergen Democrats held a convention and picked Cureton, who defeated Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo by a 54%-37% margin.  Kugler ran as an independent and received 13,203 votes countywide.

Saudino, a former Emerson police chief, ran as a Republican for sheriff in 2010 and ousted Democratic incumbent Leo McGuire by a 52%-48% margin.  He was re-elected in 2013 by ten points against Democrat James Mordaga, the former chief of detectives at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office.

In 2016, Saudino switched parties and ran for a third term as a Democrat.  He won with 62% of the vote.

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