Mahwah resident Rob Hermansen, one of the six people vying for the Republican nomination for an open District 39 State Assembly seat, prepared for the upcoming Republican conventions at a hometown fundraiser Wednesday night. Hermansen, a financial advisor who served as a Mahwah councilman from 2006-2009 and Bergen County Freeholder from 2009 through January, said he is looking forward to the conventions, despite a somewhat contentious run for the nomination so far.
Hermansen’s decision to run for a seat vacated by current Assemblyman Robert Schroeder, who was indicted by a grand jury on charges of stealing money from loaners and writing bad checks, came after he was approached by “a lot of prominent people,” in the Republican Party late last year, he said.
His decision to run “was not really about me as much as it was about party unity,” Hermansen said. “It’s time to move the party forward, it’s time to stop losing elections.”
Hermansen lost his bid for reelection to the Board of Chosen Freeholders in November.
“I was ready to stay home for a year, coach [rec sports] in town and spend more time with my kids,” Hermansen said. “But I had a lot of people asking me to run, telling me I’d be the best for this job. And, I decided to do the right thing for the party.”
Thus far, the run for the race for the Republican bid has been a combative one. Hermansen is one of six candidates for two open Assembly seats – Saddle River Council President Karen Mastriano, Old Tappan Mayor Victor Polce, Old Tappan municipal chair Bob Auth, and former US Representative candidate, Michael Cino are all running.
Incumbent Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi is also running for reelection.
According to PolitickerNJ.com and NorthJersey.com reports, tensions have been rising between the candidates and their supporters.
The tension arises from Schipesi and State Senator Gerry Cardinale’s support for Bob Auth, PolitickerNJ.com reported. Auth has never been elected to a political office, but has been a longtime aide to Cardinale, the report said.
Candidates exchanged words about their varying experience levels at a recent candidates’ night, NorthJersey.com reported. Some candidates, Hermansen included, also questioned the validity of the method used to choose candidates to run.
“I think we have good people running this year, we are all qualified,” Hermansen told Patch from his fundraiser at Roxanne’s Wednesday night. “It is just a question of who has the most experience.”
Despite the party infighting, Hermansen said he is ready for the two party conventions this week that will likely decide who wins the Republican line.
The Northeast Republican Organization convention is Thursday night and the 39th District Convention is Saturday.
According to reports, if a decision is not reached at the close of the conventions, County Chairman Bob Yudin will choose the candidates.