Bergen County Republican Chairman Jack Zisa pushed back on criticism levelled against him by former county chair Bob Yudin over former Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino’s return to the Republican party.
The New Jersey Globe first reported that Saudino was returning to the Republicans, where he won races for sheriff in 2010 and 2013 before switching to the Democratic to win a third term in 2016.
“The decision by former Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino to register as a Republican was his personal decision and his alone. The BCRO did not play a role in that decision,” Zisa said. “Mike is free to choose his own political affiliation; he came to the Republicans, because, as many people know, he has strong disagreements with Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and his administration over how they approach law enforcement and particularly how they address the issue of illegal aliens and their impact on the community.”
Saudino has not been promised anything in return for aid he may provide to the BCRO, nor has he been given a position within the organization, Zisa said.
Saudino resigned from his role as Bergen County Sheriff last year after he was caught on tape making racist and homophobic remarks.
“In regard to the secretly recorded tapes made of Sheriff Saudino and released last year, I am indeed disturbed by what I heard,” Zisa said. “I do not condone Mr. Saudino’s remarks and those remarks do not reflect the policies or attitudes of Bergen County Republicans.”
Earlier Wednesday, Yudin, who chaired Bergen County’s Republican party between 2008 and 2016, said Zisa’s decision to accept Saudino back into the fold was a sign of “the depth of deprivation the Republicans have come to.”
Saudino said he returned to the Republican party because he could not support Gov. Phil Murphy or the liberal policies he was seeking.
Bergen County Republicans plan to mount their campaigns on that same issue this year.
“This year’s election in Bergen County will not be about Mike Saudino; it will about the ruinous policies of ultra-liberal governor who is supported by the Bergen County Democrats, who put the interests of illegal aliens and criminals above the interests of law-abiding citizens,” Zisa said. “It will be about the failure of the Bergen County Democrats to stand up against the economy-killing taxes of Gov. Murphy. It will about the freeholders’ decision to raise taxes this year. I’m sure the Democrats, don’t want to talk about any of those issues – but we do.”