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Sondra J. Greenberg served as mayor of Englewood from 1976 to 1982. (Photo: Facebook.)

92-year-old ex-mayor mounts primary challenge to Bergen County Clerk

Incumbent John Hogan favored against Sondra Greenberg in Democratic primary

By David Wildstein, June 01 2021 3:18 pm

Bergen County Clerk John S. Hogan faces a primary from former Englewood Mayor Sondra J. Greenberg.

The 92-year-old Greenberg, who served as mayor from 1976 to 1982, is mounting a political comeback nearly 40 years after leaving office.  If she wins, Greenberg would be 98 at the expiration of her term.

But Greenberg is not running a campaign and is essentially a placeholder to assure a line in the Democratic primary for State Senate candidate Valerie Vainieri Huttle.

The winner of the Demcoratic primary will face Republican Bridget Anne Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Chris Christie and onetime aide to Assemblyman David Russo (R-Ridgewood).

Republicans have a contested primary to pick a challenger for Sheriff Anthony Cureton.

The organization candidate, Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler, is facing official misconduct charges and was temporarily relieved from his law enforcement post after the state attorney general accused him of providing police escorts for a funeral home he owns.

Kugler’s primary opponent is the 83-year-old mayor of Midland Park, Harry Shortway, Jr.  Shortway challenged Kugler for the organization line but lost with just 27% of the vote.  He’s running in column five, unaffiliated with any of the gubernatorial candidates.

Hogan, a former mayor of Northvale, served as a Bergen County Freeholder in 2010 and ousted interim Republican County Clerk Elizabeth Randall by 2,105 votes, 51%-49%, in the 2011 general election.

There are just a handful of contested primaries for local office among Bergen County’s 70 municipalities.

The best of the races appears to be in Woodcliff Lake, where two Democratic incumbents are running on separate lines in politically competitive borough that has a Republican mayor and a Democratic-controlled council.

Councilwoman Jacqueline Gadaleta is seeking re-election to a fourth term on the Democratic organization line with Jennifer Margolis.  They face two off the line challengers: Councilman Craig Marson and running mate Veronica Appelle.

After Councilman Ian Spelling resigned in 2020, Marson was appointed to fill his vacant seat.   He won an unexpired term in 2020, defeating Republican Dianna Cereijo by a 54%-46% margin.

In January, Marson refused to support Gadaleta for council president as part of a split in the local Democratic Party.

Gadaleta was elected to the council in 2012 and re-elected in 2015 and 2018.  She was the Democratic nominee for mayor in 2019 and lost to incumbent Carlos Rendo by 236 votes, 51%-49%.

Woodcliff Lake Republicans are running Michael Casale and Dianna Cereijo for council.

Casale ran for council in 2020 but lost to Democrat Richard Schnoll by 209 votes.

In Englewood, At-Large Councilman Charles Cobb faces a challenge from Janine Ellis, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Charter School Local 6450.  Cobb is running on the organization line with Mayor Michael Wildes.  Ellis is running in Column Three and is not affiliated with any of the slates.

Fairview Councilmen Stephen Russo and Jhon Gomez face a primary challenge from Jessica Berrocal.

Republicans did not file candidates in Englewood or Fairview.

Two incumbents of the Fair Lawn Borough Council Josh Reinitz and Gail Rottenstrich, had faced a primary challenge from Matthew Beckoff.  Beckoff’s name remains on the ballot, but he has dropped his campaign against the two first-term incumbents.

Reinitz and Rottenstrich will face Republicans Cindy Montano and Glen Callons in the general election.

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