Home>Local>Bergen>Auth slaps Zisa for backing Schepisi

From left, Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan), late State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) and Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale).

Auth slaps Zisa for backing Schepisi

GOP will pick Cardinale replacement on Tuesday

By David Wildstein, March 06 2021 12:32 am

Bob Auth pushed back on Jack Zisa’s endorsement of Holly Schepisi to fill the open 39th district Senate seat, alleging that the Bergen County GOP Chairman “will stop at nothing to retain control and power.”

“Schepisi will serve the interests of Chairman Zisa,” Auth said.  “Backroom political deals are not consistent with my values.  They represent the politics of corruption and duplicity.”

Zisa announced his endorsement of Schepisi on Friday night, slamming the four-term assemblyman for dropping out of the race on Thursday morning, only to rejoin later that evening. 

Auth and Schepisi, a five-term legislator, are competing for the unexpired term of State Sen. Gerald Cardinale, who died on February 20 at age 86.

The two candidates met with Zisa on Wednesday in an attempt to broker a peace accord that would have Schepisi run for the Senate and Auth for re-election to the Assembly.

“I never called for a meeting with Holly, Jack and the Schepisi campaign team.  They called me to offer a deal.  I said no,” Auth said.  “Unity was not on their agenda — it was simply power and control.”

Auth was a longtime friend and aide to Cardinale and entered the race one week ago with the endorsement of Carole Cardinale, the senator’s widow. 

At the time of his death, Cardinale was seeking re-election to the Senate seat he had held since ousting an incumbent in 1981.  Schepisi was challenging Cardinale for the Republican nomination.

“Unity was very far from Assemblywoman Schepisi’s mind when she decided to primary the late Senator Gerald Cardinale, and ‘put us in the unenviable position of having to choose sides,” Auth said, repeating a line from Zisa’s endorsement.  “Why was the chairman silent during that primary contest?”

Auth disputed Zisa’s claim that a primary would be damaging to the party.

“There have been many in the past and we have survived,” he said.

County committee members will meet on Tuesday evening to fill the remaining ten months of Cardinale’s term.  A district 39 GOP convention will follow to select a candidate to run for a full two-year term in the June Republican primary.

“To put it bluntly, Jack Zisa and Holly Schepisi cannot control me and they cannot control county committee,” Auth stated.  “You know I will serve you honestly.  The letter from the chairman makes this election a simple choice between political corruption and political integrity.”

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