Bergen County’s Democrats are behind Paul Juliano.
They sent that message loud and clear at a fundraiser for the East Bergen First Leadership Committee Wednesday evening that featured most of the county’s top Democrats, State Democratic Chairman John Currie and Gov. Phil Murphy.
“We are united in the struggle for that stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for everyone, and as Paul rightfully pointed out, we’re on the side of the middle class. We’re on the side of our Union Brothers and sisters, of our police, fire and first responders, and this county is the heart and soul of this great state,” Murphy said. “So when I ask the question ‘whose side are you on,’ we’re all on the side of Bergen County, am I right? And I’ll tell you whose side we’re on too. We’re all on Paul Juliano’s side.”
Juliano, superintendent of public works in Fairview, is seeking to replace former Bergen County Chairman Lou Stellato at the head of a county organization that has seen repeated victories over the preceding years.
He’s currently unopposed, and Bergen insiders told the New Jersey Globe they believe there’s little chance a challenger to Juliano will emerge before Friday’s filing deadline.
The convention is slated for 5 p.m. on July 17 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 164 in Paramus.
The organization is not accepting nominations from the floor, so the election may be decided as early as Friday.
“We’ve got to let the world know, we’ve got to let the state of new jersey know, we’ve got to let the press know, we’ve got to let the Republicans know that this is the smoothest transition that’s going to happen, and we can only do it with a quorum,” Stellato said. “Stretch and call up every one of your county committee people to be there next Wednesday. John Currie and I will be there in our high school football uniforms signing autographs.”
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Hudson County Chairwoman Amy DeGise, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), State Sen. Joe Lagana (D-Paramus) and Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), Chris Tully (D-Bergenfield) and Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn) were among the political elite at Wednesday’s fundraiser.
All seven Bergen County freeholders were also in attendance.
Tickets for the event ran between $150 and $1,000.
“Your encouragement and support will never be forgotten. I feel honored tonight to formally announce my candidacy for Bergen County chairman right here in the heart of East Bergen and in the home of the late and great Jerry Calabrese, who without question, is the most iconic individual in Bergen County politics over the better part of a half a century,” Juliano said in an upstairs room of Cliffside Park’s Villa Amalfi. “Thank you, Mayor Calabrese.”