De Gregorio takes a big win over Pallotta in Bergen

The Bergen County Republican Policy Committee has endorsed Nick De Gregorio for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th District, giving the U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran an early advantage ahead of the party convention next week .

De Gregorio beat investment banker Frank Pallotta, the party’s 2020 nominee against Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), 49-16, 71%-23%, with four votes for businessman Fred Schneiderman and none for Sab Skenderi.

In the race for the GOP House nod in the 9th District, the political committee – the Bergen GOP version of a selection committee – chose US Air Force veteran Billy Prempeh by a vote of 47 against. 15.75%-24%, against real estate agent Patrick Quinn. Prempeh is seeking a rematch from his 2020 campaign against Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-Paterson).

Former Bergen County Freeholder Todd Caliguire easily won the political committee’s endorsement in his bid for a political comeback as the candidate for Bergen County Executive. He beat Linda T. Barba, a Fort Lee real estate agent, 56 to 6, with five votes for Tim Walsh and two votes for Paul Duggan.

The winner will face county executive for two terms, James Tedesco.

The Political Committee also voted to support Saddle River Municipal GOP Chairman Doug Holden, 2021 candidate Ronald Lin for county commissioner and Englewood GOP Leader Deirdre Paul.

Holden was the top achiever with 63 votes, followed by Lin (47), Paul (44), former Edgewater council candidate Michelle Han (42) and Russ Doherty (8).

Caliguire had been considered a rising star in Bergen County politics in the 1980s when he worked for Cary Edwards as deputy attorney for Governor Thomas H. Kean. He envisioned a challenge for the then representative. Bob Torricelli (D-Englewood) in 1984 and won 46% of the vote against State Senator Matthew Feldman (D-Teaneck) in the 1991 anti-Florio GOP wave.

He served two terms as a freeholder.

In his 2005 bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Caliguire received 6% of the vote in Bergen and finished seventh in the statewide primary with 2%.

Caliguire defeated then-county clerk Kathleen Donovan in the 2006 GOP county executive primary by 577 votes, but then lost the general election by 52,524 votes (61%-39%) to the incumbent Democrat Dennis McNerney. Donovan had been deemed the most eligible candidate against McNerney and she knocked him down four years later.

He challenged Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove) in the 2007 Republican primary for state Senate in the 40th District, but lost by a fourteen-point margin.

Governor Chris Christie hired Caliguire as executive director of the North Jersey District Water Commission. After Murphy took office, he was replaced by Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Maywood) and became the Deputy Executive Director. This position carried the same salary.

Once Caliguire qualified for his state pension in 2020, he left the commission.

Duggan, who nearly won the GOP nomination for Bergen County executive in 2018, announced this week that he would seek the Republican organizing line again. He came within 123 votes of losing Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz in the county’s executive primary. Duggan lost a race for Bergen County Freeholder in 2007 and a primary for the State Assembly in the 37th District in 2017.

Also in the running is Timothy Walsh, who is in his third candidacy. He lost a Republican congressional primary to Billy Prempeh in 2020 and a bid for county commissioner in 2021. He came within 13,445 votes of ousting incumbent Tracy Silna Zur.

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