Todd Sherer announced tonight that he will not be a candidate for Bergen County Democratic chairman when Louis Stellato resigns to join the Sports Authority, and has endorsed Paul Juliano for the post.
“It is no secret that Paul Juliano and I have each been encouraged by members of the Democratic Committee to run for County Chairman, a position we shared a mutual interest in,” Sherer said in a statement released late Wednesday evening. “However, after much thought and consideration, I do not believe that now is the right time for me to pursue the chairmanship. I am, however, no less committed to helping Bergen County Democrats succeed and believe that Paul is the right person to lead the party at this time.”
Juliano, the Fairview Public Works director, has emerged as the overwhelming front runner for the post.
Stellato is expected to leave his party post as early as next month, once the New Jersey Senate confirms Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination of him as a commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
The New Jersey Globe first reported Stellato’s retirement eleven days ago.
Sherer and Juliano both praised Stellato’s leadership.
“We are all grateful for the leadership Lou Stellato has and continues to provide as Chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Committee and his retirement will leave enormous shoes to fill,” said Sherer, the Mahwah Democratic municipal chairman. “While neither his departure nor its potential timing is certain, Chairman Stellato’s announcement has prompted a new sense urgency among Bergen Democrats to discuss the future of our party.”
Juliano said that Bergen Democrat shave achieved “unprecedented success” under Stellato, who became chairman in 2011, and said that the incumbent will have his support “for as long as he chooses to remain chairman.”
“ Since Lou announced his future intentions to retire, the outpouring of support and encouragement I have received from committee members, including my friend Todd Sherer, has been overwhelming and I look forward to having continued conversations with Bergen Democrats about the future and direction of our party,” Juliano said.
Sherer offered strong support for Juliano, a longtime friend and political ally.
“Paul and I came up in politics together, working side by side in the trenches of Democratic campaigns. I have seen the magnitude of his efforts and the great lengths he will go to advance Democratic candidates and progressive causes. We have spoken extensively about inclusiveness and share a common conviction in Democratic ideals, which includes ensuring all Democratic constituencies have a seat at the table,” said Sherer. “For these reasons among many others, he has earned my support to serve as Chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Committee and I have offered to assist him in any way possible to ensure continued success and progress for Democrats in Bergen County.
Juliano made it clear that he plans to rely on Sherer if he wins a special election to complete Stellato’s unexpired term.
“It’s an honor to have the support of someone who has played such a pivotal role in our party’s success for many years,” Juliano stated. “As a true grassroots leader, Todd Sherer has helped grow our party in the northern part of the county and his efforts have helped elect Democrats at every level – often in places where Democrats have not traditionally been competitive, including the 5th Congressional District.”
Sherer runs a Saturday morning group which attracts about 200 activists and has now become a mandatory stop for candidates for local and statewide office. Juliano says that is evidence of Sherer’s impact on Bergen County politics.
“Todd is not only a great Democrat, he is a great person and a close friend, and I look forward to working with him to help Democrats in Bergen County and New Jersey reach new heights,” Juliano said.
Juliano said Democrats will focus on legislative and freeholder races this year, winning the White House in 2020 and re-electing Murphy to a second term in 2021. “I am confident that by working together, our party has a bright future and we can build on the incredible success we have achieved up and down the ballot,” Juliano said.