HACKENSACK - They filed into Bergen County Republican Organization headquarters, the committee members who were here a week ago - and those who were in mothballs until this week.
A county committee tie at 120 to 120 last Thursday between the two men vying to run for the state senate in LD 38 meant former Freeholder John Driscoll and attorney Fernando Alonso had to come back tonight in hopes of adding more troops to their respective retinues.
The winner was...
In the meantime, the two candidates - former running mates turned hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck foes - worked the big scuffed carpeted room here at headquarters.
"Working the phones, learning everyone's name," Alonso said. "A friend of mine told me it's just like a high school election."
Both men radiated ease.
"One guy had surgery last week, tonight he'll be here," said Driscoll, standing with squared shoulders in front of the great seal of the County of Bergen.
Gaggles of insiders pulled the metal chairs around and jawed about politics.
"THe winner tonight is going to beat (Democratic State Senator) Bob Gordon," said Jim Arakelian, GOP chairman of the River Edge Republican Committee. "We came last time and that was without a rock star at the top of the ticket."
"Well, thank you," cracked Alonso.
Arakelian didn't bother with the eye roll.
Besides the lingering emotional overlay between the protagonists, it was a friendly atmosphere.
"Chris Christie," Arakelian clarified. "He's at the top of the ticket this time."
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"It's incredible, it's a dream. I would never have imagined that I would be running for mayor, but to have Ken Gibson say that, I didn't expect it. Having Ken Gibson on my side is the ultimate reference check. It's the ultimate in street credibility. Mr. Gibson said it, when he was running for mayor, people said that they weren't ready, but Mr. Gibson said 'ready or not, here I come.' I think that's apropos for my campaign. Newark is ready for this." Newark Mayoral candidate Ras Baraka- PolitickerNJ.com
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