Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rendo, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2017, will mount a write-in campaign in the GOP primary after his nominating petitions came up 11 short of the 25 signatures needed to get on the ballot.
Rendo will now need to secure a majority of write-in votes – and a minimum of 25 of them – to secure the nomination for a third term.
“We’re confident we’ll be on the ballot,” he said. “This is an opportunity to bring in vote-by-mail for write-ins. We’re going to reach out to as many Republicans as possible to switch them to VBM.”
This time, Rendo is unlikely to rely on others to gather votes after volunteers failed to collect the signatures they were promised.
Rendo was re-elected by a twelve-point margin in 2019 against Jacqueline Gadaleta. This year, Democrats are running Nancy Gross, a former councilwoman, for mayor.
One a Republican stronghold, Woodcliff Lake has become a swing town. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy carried it by 33 votes in 2021, while Republican State Sen. Holly Schepisi won Woodcliff Lake by 123 votes. Last year, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat, won 57% of the vote in Woodcliff Lake.
Democrats have a 6-0 majority on the borough council. Incumbent Richard Schnoll is seeking re-election and newcomer Jared Shapiro. Democrat Josephine Higgins, a former mayor, is not seeking re-election to the council.
The Republican council candidates also failed to qualify for the ballot. Julie Brodsky and Joshua Stern will also run as write-in candidates.
Rendo was picked by GOP gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno to be her running mate in 2017. Through no fault of Rendo, Guadagno lost to Murphy by fourteen points.