Kathleen A. Donovan (born 1952) is an American Republican Party politician, who served as County Executive of Bergen County, New Jersey. She previously served as County Clerk of Bergen County, New Jersey for four terms, and one term in the New Jersey General Assembly. Donovan unsuccessfully sought support to run for Bergen County Executive in the 2002 Republican primary, and lost a campaign for the 2006 Republican nomination for County Executive. She ran again for County Executive in 2010, where she defeated incumbent Dennis McNerney.

Kathleen A. Donovan
County Executive of Bergen County, New Jersey
In office
January 1, 2011[1] – January 1, 2015
Preceded byDennis McNerney
Succeeded byJames J. Tedesco III
County Clerk of Bergen County, New Jersey
In office
January 1989 – January 2011
Preceded byCarl Hartmann[2]
Succeeded byElizabeth Randall[3]
Chair of the New Jersey Republican Party
In office
June 1989 – February 1990
Preceded byBob Franks
Succeeded byBob Franks
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 36th district
In office
January 3, 1986[4] – January 3, 1988
Serving with Paul DiGaetano
Preceded byRobert P. Hollenbeck
Succeeded byLouis J. Gill
Personal details
Political partyRepublican
Alma materRutgers University–Newark (BA)
Cleveland–Marshall College of Law (JD)

Early life and educationEdit

Donovan, a graduate of Queen of Peace High School, earned a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University-Newark and was awarded a J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She is a resident of Rutherford, New Jersey.[5]

Public serviceEdit

Donovan was a part-time public defender of Lyndhurst, New Jersey (her hometown), from 1983 to 1988. From 1986 to 1988, she represented the 36th Legislative District in the New Jersey General Assembly.[6] In the Assembly, Donovan served on the State Regulatory Efficiency Committee (as Vice-Chair) and as a member of the Environmental Quality Committee.[5] She served as chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee from June 1989 to February 1990, before being replaced by her predecessor, Union County Assemblyman Bob Franks.[7]

She was first elected County Clerk in 1988 and was reelected in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008. As County Clerk, Donovan was in charge of maintaining land use records in the county, including deeds and mortgages, preserving county records, handling certain election functions including counting ballots, receiving petitions, handling absentee ballots and designing ballots, serving as the local passport office for Bergen County and handling other services including identification cards for veterans. As County Clerk she also functioned as a Recorder of Deeds for Bergen County.

In 1994 Donovan was appointed by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with the designation of Chairwoman of the Port Authority. As Port Authority Chairwoman, Donovan was a part-time official overseeing a bi-state agency governing all of the New York area ports, including LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, along with the World Trade Center and the PATH mass transit system between New York and New Jersey.[8] Donovan stepped down as Port Authority Chairwoman in December 1995 in order to unsuccessfully run for Congress in the 1996 election, but she retained her seat on the agency's Board of Commissioners. Donovan remained a Port Authority Commissioner until 2002 when she was replaced by Gov. James McGreevey when her term expired. She was a commissioner when the September 11 terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center. Seats on the Port Authority Board are considered one of the top political appointments that can be awarded by the Governor of New Jersey or the Governor of New York.

Bergen County ExecutiveEdit

Donovan ran for County Executive in 2010, where she defeated incumbent Dennis McNerney and swept into office with her three Freeholder running mates, in an election in which perceived corruption by the Democratic incumbents, and rising spending and taxes were the major issues.[9] Donovan won with 52.9% of the vote (117,104), while McNerney received 47.1% (104,366).[10]

On November 4, 2014, Donovan lost her reelection bid to Democratic Freeholder James J. Tedesco III, in an election in which the major issues were the county budget, consolidation of the county police and sheriff, and issues regarding lawsuits filed between the different branches of government.[11] Election results showed her garnering 45.8% (91,299) of the vote compared to Tedesco's 54.16% (107,958).[12]


  1. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=668239
  2. ^ https://www.newspapers.com/image/523967553/
  3. ^ https://www.newspapers.com/image/505308701/
  4. ^ https://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=292238
  5. ^ a b Kathleen A. Donovan Archived 2009-04-24 at the Wayback Machine, Bergen County, New Jersey. Accessed August 28, 2007.
  6. ^ Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual: State of New Jersey (2007), Skinder-Strauss Associates, Newark, New Jersey, p. 325. ISBN 1-57741-245-1.
  7. ^ "Lawmakers Join Bid to Oust GOP Chief". The Record (Bergen County), February 16, 1990.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-27. Retrieved 2014-12-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Editorial. "Republicans Triumph", The Record (Bergen County), November 4, 2010. Accessed December 27, 2014.
  10. ^ Staff. "Election results", The Record (Bergen County), November 4, 2010. Accessed December 27, 2014.
  11. ^ Ensslin, John C.; and O'Neill, James N. "Tedesco upsets Donovan in race for Bergen County executive" Archived 2014-12-28 at the Wayback Machine, The Record (Bergen County), November 4, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2014. "Democrat James Tedesco, in a come-from-behind upset, won a hard-fought race for Bergen County Executive Tuesday, dealing Republican incumbent Kathleen Donovan her first loss at the county level in 25 years."
  12. ^ Staff. "RESULTS OF MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY RACES", The Record (Bergen County), November 5, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2014.

External linksEdit

New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
Robert P. Hollenbeck
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly for the 36th District
1986 – 1988
With: Paul DiGaetano
Succeeded by
Louis J. Gill
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Franks
Chair of the New Jersey Republican Party
1989 – 1990
Succeeded by
Bob Franks
Political offices
Preceded by
Dennis McNerney
County Executive of Bergen County, New Jersey
2011 – 2015
Succeeded by
James J. Tedesco III