Home>Local>Bergen>Huge turnout for Bergen Democrats at uncontested virtual nominating convention

Bergen County Democratic Chairman Paul Juliano and Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo by Nikita Biryukov)

Huge turnout for Bergen Democrats at uncontested virtual nominating convention

By David Wildstein, March 16 2021 8:05 pm

Nearly 80% of Democratic county committee members and elected officials in Bergen County participated in a virtual convention that included no contested races for any office, with Gov. Phil Murphy winning the organization line for the second time.

In the fiercely contested race for Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s State Senate seat in the 37th district, Gordon Johnson received 79.5% of the vote with 20.5% abstaining.   Johnson received 232 of the 292 ballots cast.

Valerie Vainieri Huttle, who skipped the convention process and is running off the line in the June 8 Democratic primary, complained that Bergen Democrats have “operated in the shadows and back rooms for far too long.”

“The 60 abstentions during this week’s convention speaks for itself. Democrats want a party that is true to its values of transparency and fairness,” said Vainieri Huttle.  “We deserve a party that works for us, not one that is doubling down on a broken process.”

In the race for State Assembly, former Tenafly Councilwoman Shama Haider and former Englewood Cliffs Councilwoman Ellen Park received 204 and 203 votes, respectively.

“I’m proud and humbled to head the most diverse, most inclusive and most exciting ticket in New Jersey,” said Johnson. “These two women are dynamic, powerful advocates for our community, and I cannot wait to make Bergen County history alongside them.”

Bergen County Democratic Vice Chair Balpreet Grewal-Virk called the Johnson-Haider-Park a “ticket of firsts.”

“If elected, Bergen County will have a Black representative in the State Senate for the first time in its history,” Grewal-Virk said.  “State Legislature will include the voices of a Korean American woman, a Pakistani American women, and a person of Muslim faith for the first time in New Jersey’s history.”

Incumbents were renominated in the 32nd, 35th, 36th and 38th districts, as well as County Clerk John Hogan, Sheriff Anthony Cureton, Surrogate Michael Dressler, and County Commissioners Steven Tanelli and Tracy Silna Zur.

Democrats picked Ruth Dugan, the wife of former State Sen. James P. Dugan, to run for Senate in the 39th district, and Ridgewood Deputy Mayor Michael Sedon in the 40th.

For Assembly, Democrats picked Melina Iannuzzi and Karlito Almeda in the 39th, and Genevieve Allard in the 40th.  Allard’s running mate will come from Passaic County.

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