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Ejected from office for racist slurs, former Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino re-joined the county Republican Party, saying that he cannot support the liberal policies of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and the extreme Progressive initiatives that he says are undermining the safety and the future of New Jersey.
“As a career law enforcement official who has worked to protect the public, I simply cannot be part of or support the policies of a governor that are destructive to the fabric of our communities,” said Saudino, a former Emerson Police Chief.
After hearing a tape of Saudino spouting racism, Murphy made a public statement for the sheriff, a former GOP party man turned Democrat, to resign.
Now the former sheriff said Murphy’s sanctuary state policies; his administration’s edicts to hinder state law enforcement agencies from working with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel, and the Progressive’s movement to pressure county jails not to take ICE inmates are among the reasons for his return to the Republican Party.
“I cannot support a governor and an administration that lay out the red carpet for illegal aliens and refuse to help federal agencies enforce U.S. law,” said Saudino. “And I know a lot of Democrats who feel the same way.”
One prominent Republican doesn’t feel the way Saudino does about his membership in the GOP.
“Michael Saudino should not be accepted back into the Bergen GOP,” said state Senator Mike Doherty (R-23). “He is a rat who left the party to maintain his position as sheriff. He was forced to resign after making racist comments. How many racist comments did he make that were never recorded? It’s absurd that he was given a platform to address the Bergen GOP. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.”
Saudino said he will work to support the election of the Bergen County Republican Organization’s county freeholder ticket this year. The BCRO freeholder ticket is composed of Corrado Belgiovine, Katie Cericola, and Alyssa Dawson.
“I believe it’s time for some new faces and bipartisanship in county government,” added the Republican turned Democrat turned Republican.
BCRO Chairman Jack Zisa said he is glad to welcome Saudino back to the party. “Mike served his community and the county well and he has many supporters in Bergen County. I believe he can bring experience and insights in how to win a county-wide race and I look forward to him helping our freeholder team,” said Zisa.
Saudino is the third prominent Democrat to switch parties. Wyckoff Committeewoman Melissa Rubenstein jumped to the BCRO in May. Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert J. Kugler announced in April that he switched parties and would be actively working with BCRO team in 2019.
Saudino was elected sheriff as a Republican in 2010 and won re-election in 2013. Prior to the 2016 election, he joined the Democratic Party — after prolonged conflict over the county police merger – and won a third term as sheriff.
Then he resigned last year amid political pressure.