A POLICE OFFICER WRITES: Jim Tedesco handily unseated incumbent Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan in yesterday’s election for a number of reasons — not the least of which were his promises to fold the county police into the sheriff’s office, give the sheriff’s officers the raises that Donovan had fought in court to deny and not close Bergen County Regional Medical Center. But there were other forces at work, as well.
One of the most powerful was a law enforcement officer, a policeman, a public servant — Bergen County Sheriff’s Sgt. Timmy Lindsay.
Fulfilling a vow to himself, Lindsay ( top, far left, and immediate right ) mobilized an electorate that swelled like a huge wave and crested yesterday at the polls.
In doing so, he unleashed the power of brothers-and-sisters-in-arms — from sheriff’s officers to local police and beyond — as well as social media.
With his wife, Tracy, Lindsay created the Facebook group Women Voters Against Reelection of Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan — not the only reason for yesterday’s outcome in the executive race but certainly one of the most significant.
The page became a hearth, a town center of sorts, for not just sheriff’s officers but for loved ones and friends throughout the county to share thoughts and experiences, to buck one another up — to bitch, for sure — but, most importantly, to plan boots-on-the-ground tactics and strategies that took it beyond the average Facebook page.
Supporters united, attended events, posted signs, made calls, sent emails and devoted countless hours spreading their “Dump Donovan” message and mobilizing voters any way they could.
It wasn’t only about what people disliked — or, to be honest, despised — about the Republican incumbent, who’d been at odds with Lindsay’s boss, Republican Sheriff Michael Saudino, almost from the day she first took office.
It wasn’t only about the repeated insults the sheriff and his officers said they endured through Donovan’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge them as genuine police, or an ill-advised move by her security detail to prevent opponents from wearing “Team Tedesco” shirts in the county administration building in the days leading up to yesterday’s election — an edict which a federal judge in Newark last week immediately ordered her to stop.
More than that, Women Voters Against Reelection of Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan extolled the virtues of its candidate ( top, far right ), a Democrat Bergen County freeholder who is a 38-year firefighting veteran and the deputy OEM director in Paramus,
Tonight, hours after the fanfare and hoopla had subsided, Lindsay gathered his thoughts and feelings and composed a letter to the vanquished Donovan ( SEE BELOW ).
* * * * * *
Four years ago you were catapulted to the top of county government. It was almost immediately that you decided attacking, maligning and demeaning my career was the direction your administration would take.
Many of my brothers and sisters were angry. I was disappointed.
In the beginning, I made excuses for you. I tried to minimize the hate that you spewed. I did this because of our relationship. I did this because I didn’t believe it could ‘actually’ be you that harbored these feelings.
Yet, your hate filled, anti-BCSO rhetoric continued.
The tipping point for me came when you attended Aunt Libbie’s 100th birthday party. It was made clear to you that the ‘County Executive’ was not invited.
Rather, Kathe, friend of the family, was asked to attend alone.
But we were too late. Your ego had already ballooned astronomically.
You arrived with an armed security detail!
This was a family party for a friend. A friend that you’ve known for half a century! But my family had to celebrate with an armed guard standing in the corner of the room. How disrespectful.
Later in the party, you made a point to seek me out, and, in front of my small children, wife, and mother, once again inform my family that I was not a law enforcement officer. You played semantics (you’re not the only wordsmith, ya know).
It was at that moment that I made a promise to myself that you, Kathleen Donovan, WILL NEVER BE REELECTED.
I planned, organized and amassed a small group of very talented, motivated and loyal friends. We brainstormed and came up with some ideas about how to best destroy you.
Social media came to the forefront and on July 23rd the FB group, WOMEN AGAINST THE REELECTION OF BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE KATHLEEN DONOVAN was born.
Two and a half month’s later, 7,000 people were standing with me.
103 days after the formation of MY group, you were defeated in your bid for reelection.
Not just defeated. Blown out. Destroyed. 17,000 votes.
You lost by 17,000 votes.
Let’s dissect that.
7,000 people were in my group. Almost all of the people that I had in the group are [R]epublican. They may not pay attention to politics, but when asked, they say they vote [R]epublican all the way, all the time.
I also made a concerted effort to get volunteers to help in the canvassing, signing and calling phases of the Tedesco campaign.
When you look at the polling numbers, my FB group numbers and amount of people who I coordinated to help with the other aspects of Team Tedesco, it’s clear that I beat you. I made you lose. I sent you into retirement. I got rid of you.
And… You know it.
Timothy Lindsay, Sergeant
Bergen County Sheriff’s Office
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