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Paramus Councilman Chris DiPiazza. (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe).

Paramus GOP taps DiPiazza as mayoral candidate

Two-term councilman will seek open seat in swing town

By David Wildstein, March 30 2022 9:43 pm

Paramus Republicans have picked Councilman Christopher DiPiazza as their candidate for mayor as they seek to reclaim an office they haven’t held for 20 years in one of New Jersey’s most politically competitive municipalities.

DiPiazza defeated Steve Sullivan, a former councilman, by a vote of 26-7 on Wednesday evening.

The incumbent, Richard LaBarbiera, is not seeking re-election to a fourth term.  Local Democrats have picked Councilwoman MariaElena Bellinger as their candidate.

Republican Councilwoman Jeanne Weber secured organization support for a fourth term; she’ll run with George Quintana, who lost a council bid in 2018.  They will face Democrats John Tabor, a 32-year volunteer firefighter, and retired police captain Mark Distler to run for the borough council.

Democrats have held the mayor’s office James Tedesco, now the Bergen County Executive, defeated former State Sen. Louis Kosco by ten points in 2002 following the retirement of three-term Republican mayor Clifford Gennarelli.

Paramus Republicans are also shopping for a new councilman after Joseph Vartolone resigned last week as the deputy director of PATH Operations at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  Vartolone had previously spent six years at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. Vartolone was up for re-election this year.

Quintana,  John Migliaccio, and Brian Goggin have been submitted to the township council by  the Paramus GOP to fill the remainder of Vartolone’s term.

In the 2020 council race, DiPiazza was the top vote-getter with 7,887 votes, with Bellinger finishing second with 7,767.  She edged out Republican Michael Rohdieck (7,471) and Democrat Dominick Minervini (7,451).

Republicans took control of the Paramus Township Council in 2021 when Ace Adrian Antonio and Robert Kaiser flipped two seats.  One of the losers was Councilwoman Holly Tedesco-Santos, the daughter of Bergen County Executive and former Paramus Mayor James Tedesco.  That gave the GOP a 4-1 majority.

Paramus went for Republican Jack Ciattarelli in last year’s gubernatorial race by 1,043 votes, 56%-44%, against Gov. Phil Murphy.  Murphy carried Paramus in 2017 by 265 votes, 51%-47%, against Republican Kim Guadagno.

Donald Trump carried Paramus twice.  He won it by 253 votes, 60%-48%, in 2016, and by 169 votes, 50%-49%, in 2020.

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