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Former Englewood Cliffs Councilwoman Ellen Park. (Photo: Englewood Cliffs Democrats.)

Democrats Haider, Park expected to emerge as 37th district Assembly candidates

Will run with Johnson on organization line to replace Soriano-Taveras, Chung

By David Wildstein, March 14 2021 4:58 pm

Bergen County Democrats are expected to pick former Tenafly Councilwoman Shama Haider and former Englewood Cliffs Councilwoman Ellen Park to run for State Assembly in the 37th district, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Haider and Park would replace Teaneck Democratic Municipal Chair Alexandra Soriano-Taveras and Palisades Park Mayor Christopher Chung, who withdrew from the race last week.

They will run on the organization line with Gov. Phil Murphy and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood), who is seeking an open State Senate seat.

Johnson faces Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) in the June Democratic primary for Senate.

Vainieri Huttle is running off the line with two Assembly candidates: Teaneck Councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice and Tenafly Council President Lauren Kohn Dayton.

Soriano-Taveras dropped her Assembly bid amid criticism that she called for a boycott of Jewish businesses at a rally last July.  Chung withdrew Chung, withdrew after a State Comptroller report heavily criticized some contract violations in Palisades Park.

Haider, 72,  is the Tenafly Democratic municipal chair.  Along with former Montgomery Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, who is running for Assembly in the 16th district, Haider could be the first Muslim to serve in the New Jersey Legislature.

Before emigrating to the United States, Haider served as secretary to the First Lady of Pakistan.

Park, a 49-year-old attorney, could be the first Korean American woman to serve in the New Jersey Legislature and the second Korean American overall.  Republican Kevin J. O’Toole served in the Assembly and Senate for more than 20 years before his retirement in 2017.

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