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The three Democratic senators based in Bergen County support Paul Juliano to lead the party committee when sitting Chairman Lou Stellato steps aside for a position at the Sports and Exposition Authority.
Senators Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Paul Sarlo (D-36), and Joe Lagana (D-38) all praised him as a worthy heir to countywide star Stellato. A superintendent of public works for Fairview Borough, Juliano stands out as a man with great relationship-building skills, who has strong ties everywhere not in any one camp.
“He’s a great organizer and great party person,” said Weinberg.
“He has my support,” said Lagana. “He is a great Democrat.”
Sarlo echoed the favorable remarks about Juliano.
“I have known him for years, have always been supportive of Paul Juliano,” said the senator. “He will bring the big tent, all-inclusive mentality to the party for the next generation.”
Todd Sherer of Mahwah was another option for the Democrats but didn’t appear to have necessary traction to overthrow the front-runner for Stellato’s job.
“Statement coming soon,” said a source. “That’s over.
“It’s essentially over,” he added.
Elected chair in 2011, former Lyndhurst Mayor Stellato had a strong run as chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Committee.
“I can comfortably say he’s one of the most successful chairs in New Jersey,” said Lagana.
“We’ve had tremendous success,” said Weinberg, acknowledging the Stellato era, which flipped control from the GOP to Democrat, then closed the oxygen off the rival party.
Stellato has to get approved for Sports and Expo, but as for succession, it’s in the mopping-up stages.
The outgoing chairman had success, particularly in the latter stages of his career, because people deferred to him out of respect for his accomplishments. Juliano, to be successful as Stellato was, will need to govern by consensus, a source said.
The egos are always at the edge of running amok in Bergen.
Democrats will turn on one another without a steady hand.
In Stellato’s case, he seldom – if ever – tried to tell senators what to do, although he did assert a stronger hand at the county government level.
“There are 70 towns with people behaving like little, spoiled children, and Bergen could turn into Trenton if Paul’s not careful,” said the source.