A Superior Court Judge ruled today that an East Rutherford councilman who lost the Republican nomination could not seek re-election as the Democratic candidate.
Joel Brizzi, a former councilman, ousted Jeff Lahullier in the GOP primary by a wide margin, 350-204.
Democrats sought to put Lahullier on their ticket when one of their candidates, Derek Sands, dropped out to run Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco’s re-election campaign.
Superior Court Judge Estela De La Cruz ruled in support of what is known as the sore loser law, an issue which has been tested over the years with varying results.
De La Cruz also ruled that Democrats have run out the clock on their chance to replace Sands on the ballot.
The other winner of the Republican primary, Councilman George Perry, Jr., died in June. The council replaced him with another former Councilman, Tom Banca, who is now Brizzi’s running mate. The two face just one Democrat, Daniel Alvarez, a school board member.
“What I find most upsetting about this episode is that the local Democratic Party and Mr. Lahullier have tied up our town’s council election for more than three weeks as the Bergen County Clerk’s office and the courts sorted out the facts of this case,” Brizzi said in a statement released tonight. “East Rutherford doesn’t need this kind of political intrigue simply to elect two people to the Borough Council. We deserve better. We don’t need political bosses pulling strings behind the scenes as they seek to get an advantage on Election Day.”
Brizzi has lost two races for Bergen County Freeholder and was briefly a candidate for State Assembly in the 36th district in 2009.