BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A rush to find a new sheriff in Bergen County is throwing the upcoming county election into chaos.
Former sheriff Michael Saudino resigned last week after an audio recording of him allegedly making racist and homophobic remarks was made public.
The Bergen County Clerk’s Office is now in a scramble after the secretary of the state declared that an election must be held to fill the role of sheriff.
“So they are going to have to scramble for next Thursday to select a candidate,“ Bergen County Clerk John Hogan explained to CBS2’s Meg Baker.
It was initially thought that Gov. Murphy would appoint a new sheriff however, Murphy has sent the decision back to the county.
The deadline to name a party nominee for the three-year term is Oct. 4. Political expert Jim McQueeney says Democrats will hold a convention on Tuesday to discuss options. Republicans still need a plan.
“Talk about the compression of events between today and Tuesday. Everybody has to campaign, to get on the ballot, both Democrats and Republicans. This is astounding,” McQueeney said.
The sheriff’s race will be added onto the general election. The problem is mail-in ballots were already sent out.
“You are going to see a lot of confusion. People say wait a minute I got that ballot, I voted already, what’s this? I wouldn’t want to be the person answering the phone at the Clerk’s Office in Bergen County,” McQueeney added.
John Hogan estimates the special election will also cost $100,000.
CBS2 asked Gov. Murphy if the state was open to picking up the cost.
“I haven’t been asked yet so, I’ll wait until we are asked,” the governor replied.
The election is Nov. 6, leaving voters only a month to get to know the candidates. The county also has to open the field to independent candidates. They need a petition of 100 signatures to get on the ballot.