With Alonso Out, Who Will be the Next Bergen County Democratic Chair?

The backlash was bad, a Bergen Democrat told InsiderNJ.


Too bad to sustain.

The inner sanctum allies of Governor Phil Murphy Deputy Chief of Staff Adam Alonso were getting calls and texts from Bergen party members that were very strongly worded.

“Not gonna have anyone forced on them, especially someone nobody likes up here,” the source said.

Following the shattered plan to have Alonso take the baton from retiring Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato, the word was Alonso would stay on in Trenton.

Stellato insisted he himself was staying to continue to steer the organization he’s helmed since 2011.

But as InsiderNJ reported Friday, party members Paul Juliano and Todd Sherer appeared ready to go if Stellato decides to call it a career come June.

The plan to move Alonso from his government job to the chairmanship of the Bergen Democrats had the appearance of the Governor trying to ensure that he would have someone loyal to him on the perch of the politically important county organization.

Sources said they understood the need for such a play.

In the simplest terms, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) wants to be governor. He already has strong allies in state Senator Nick Scutari (Union County Democratic Chair) and Senator Brian Stack (the likely next Hudson County Democratic Chair). He needs Bergen to remain in the hands of a leader loyal to him, and not – certainly – South Jersey.

But Alonso as that guy was a non-starter, sources said, leaving Murphy with no resource but to pull the plug on him as an option to succeed Stellato, even as Stellato – with rumors about his departure upgraded after since he stared down heart surgery – said he’s dug in as chairman.

“Alonso completely ruined up here,” said a party player. “People totally disgusted by him. People who [otherwise] don’t agree on anything.”

Others were more subdued.

“I think what’s being missed here is that this is a 32-year old kid,” a source told InsiderNJ on Saturday Afternoon.

“The poor guy,” he added.

Another source, sympathetic to Alonso, said the Governor actually never affixed his John Hancock to the deal, and implied that Stellato himself – in sunset-seeking mode – hatched the option.

But most sources didn’t buy that, laying the failed scheme to airlift Alonso out of the Governor’s statehouse satellite office in to Bergen at the feet of the Governor and – as part of their most charitable political assessment – implored Murphy – going forward – to reexamine his political thinking.

“The deal was made,” one source seethed. “They all agreed on it. …But it got leaked, got blown up, and they never thought they would get this blowback. This is a group out of control.”

If that particular characterization seemed harsh, the overriding theme was that whatever the origins of the play (most pinned it on the Governor, ultimately) Alonso – part of the Murphy Campaign Team inner sanctum but a youngish player, untested really but for some pre-primary spasms that short-circuited Sweeney and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, associated with Hudson and a Johnny Come Lately in Stellato-ville – would simply never have flown as a Bergen boss.

INSIDERNJ POLL: With Alonso Out, Who Will be the Next Bergen County Democratic Committee Chair?


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One response to “With Alonso Out, Who Will be the Next Bergen County Democratic Chair?”

  1. We don’t need any “bosses” in NJ, that’s what’s wrong with our state and with the Democratic party in general. Just being better than the Republicans is a very low bar. The existing system is little more than legalized bribery, the vast majority of New Jerseyans are totally disgusted with the status quo.

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