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Paramus Councilwoman MariaElena Bellinger. (Photo: John Hogan).

Paramus Dems pick Bellinger to run for mayor

Tabor, Distler endorsed for council seats in one of New Jersey’s most politically competitive towns

By David Wildstein, March 21 2022 7:05 pm

Paramus Democrats selected MariaElena Bellinger as their candidate for mayor to replace three-term incumbent Richard LaBarbiera.

The New Jersey Globe first reported on Sunday that LaBarbiera would not seek re-election this year.

Bellinger is seeking to become the first woman mayor of Paramus, one of the state’s most consistent swing towns over the last 60 years.  She’s a four-term councilwoman and a well-known high school volleyball coach.

“I’m humbled to have received the Democratic committee’s support to be our Mayoral candidate,” stated Bellinger. “I am running because I want to unite Paramus and move us forward with the kind of leadership and service that our residents deserve.”

Bellinger will try to keep the mayoral post in the Democratic column against Republican Councilman Christopher DiPiazza.  The GOP took a 5-1 majority on the borough council in 2021.

Democrats also tapped John Tabor, a 32-year volunteer firefighter, and retired police captain Mark Distler to run for the borough council.

The will likely face longtime GOP Councilwoman Jeanne Weber and John Migliaccio, a state Department of Corrections employee.   Migliaccio is the leading candidate to replace Joseph Vartolone, who resigned from the council last week to become the deputy director of PATH Operations at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“We could not be more excited about the candidates we have this year,” said Paramus Democratic Municipal Chair Melissa Caminiti.  “They are dedicated members of our community, as seen by their years of involvement, and are qualified to bring the leadership the borough needs.”

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