Home>Local>Bergen>Despite pending criminal charges, Bergen GOP picks Kugler for sheriff

Bergen County Sheriff candidate Robert Kugler. (Photo: Robert Kugler.)

Despite pending criminal charges, Bergen GOP picks Kugler for sheriff

By David Wildstein, March 30 2021 11:12 pm

Nearly three weeks after state prosecutors charged Robert Kugler with corruption and conspiracy charges, Bergen County Republicans tonight picked him as their candidate for Sheriff.

He defeated Harry Shortway Jr., the 83-year-old Midland Park mayor, by a vote of 269-98, 73%-27%.

Kugler, who was relieved of his post as Saddle Brook police chief after being charged, is accused of ordering police escorts for a funeral home that he owns.

Bergen Republicans also picked Bridget Kelly, who served as deputy chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie in 2013.  Although Kelly ran unopposed, 13% of the Bergen Republican county committee did not vote for her.

In the race for governor, Jack Ciattarelli easily won the Bergen GOP organization line. He defeated perennial candidate Hirsh Singh by a 336-25 vote, 91%-7%, with 6 votes for Brian D. Levine, a former Franklin mayor and Somerset County freeholder.

Three candidates competed for two seats on the Bergen County Board of Commissioners, with Dr. Ronald Lin (302) and Bergen County Young Republicans Vice Chairman Tim Walsh (272) defeated Joseph Viso (82), an electrician and firefighter from Carlstadt.

Former Cresskill Councilwoman Simone Signounis was unopposed in her bid as the GOP candidate for Bergen County Surrogate.

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.

Prosecutors allege that the Kugler 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.

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