The Democratic candidate for Morris County sheriff says he has already sent a $2,500 campaign contribution he received from Michael Saudino to charity.
William Schievella, who worked for Saudino in the Bergen County sheriff’s department, told the New Jersey Globe that he gave the money to the Special Olympics last week, prior to the announcement that Saudino had returned to the Republican Party.
“I accepted the money knowing that I would not be using it for any political purposes and that I would select a charity that I felt best suited my support,” said Schievella, who said he’s raised money for the Special Olympics in the past.
Schievella acknowledged that he would have been better off not taking Saudino’s check in the first place.
Saudino resigned as sheriff last fall after getting caught on tape making racist and homophobic comments.
Earlier today, three Republican legislators who represent both Morris and Bergen counties issued a statement saying they were disturbed by Saudino’s support for Schievella.
“We have news for Mr. Saudino: ‘the joke is over.’ If his actions met his rhetoric, he would be supporting tried and true Republicans like Morris County Sheriff James Gannon,” said State Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa) and Assemblymen Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff) and Kevin Rooney (R-Wyckoff).
Corrado, DePhillips and Rooney also demanded that Schievella return Saudino’s contribution “and immediately denounce his hateful, racist, sexist and homophobic rhetoric.”
“Morris and Bergen County residents deserve better,” the GOP legislators said. “Those who are shamelessly interested in only serving themselves have no place in public office.”
Schievella, a former Morris County undersheriff and Rockaway Township councilman, had been a Republican until switching parties to challenge Gannon, a first-term incumbent. Saudino had been elected twice as a Republican and switched parties in 2013 to win re-election as a Democrat. He rejoined the GOP this week.