Some political insiders may recall public hearings a year or so ago about the state’s new legislative map.
A constant presence at many of the hearings – either in person or via Zoom – was Christopher Binetti of Edison. He complained that the state discriminates against Italian-Americans and he wanted the new map to somehow rectify that injustice.
That didn’t happen, so now, Binetti is taking things into his own hands – he’s running himself.
Binetti on Monday filed a petition to challenge state Sen. Patrick Diegnan in the LD-18 Democratic primary.
He said the following:
“I am running because I believe that I can best represent the extremely diverse people of the 18th Legislative District of New Jersey. Most of the issues that affect my district the most are caused by a lack of representation. Only a new Democratic voice can represent this district and ensure ‘Inclusion for All.'”
Before we get too far here, it’s worth noting that Binetti’s petition has 102 names – a mere two more than the number required. You know that Team Diegnan will scrutinize the names to make sure they are all legit. If Binetti loses three, he’s out of luck.
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Strange things are happening in Dover, which is never a surprise in politics.
Four people are running for mayor in the Democratic primary, a group that includes James Dodd, the former mayor.
But the other three, which includes current Mayor Carolyn Blackman, were all on the same team just four years ago.
Disagreements certainly arise from time to time, but it certainly looks like Dodd is in pretty good shape. After all, he presumably retains his base and the coalition that unseated him is divided.
There are some differences that must be raised.
Dodd ran in 2019 as an independent and narrowly lost to Blackman.
Running as an independent allowed him, of course, to pull in some Republicans. But that won’t help him in June. Still, the simple math and signs around town urging voters to “Bring Back Dodd” seem to put the former mayor in a good spot.
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In Republican Morris County, everything seemed set.
There would be a fierce primary battle for the LD-26 Senate nod and a one-on-one battle for county commissioner between incumbent Tayfun Selen and Paul DeGroot.
They met a year ago when DeGroot defeated Selen to win the GOP nomination for the House in LD-11. For his troubles, DeGroot lost badly to Mikie Sherrill.
But at the last minute this year another candidate filed for county commissioner.
That would be Robert Snyder of Parsippany. How he impacts things is unclear. Snyder has not yet responded to an emailed question about his candidacy.
Another surprise was the candidacy of Andrew Agliata of Rockaway for county clerk. The incumbent being challenged is Republican Ann Grossi.
Agliata has history in mind.
“Since 1739, the office of the Morris County Clerk has been one of prestige, service, responsibility and honor,” he said, adding that he’s the perfect guy to maintain that tradition while also ushering in a new generation of “leadership, transparency, accountability and service.”
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After the recent Morris County Democratic convention, it appeared that Veronica Fernandez of Long Valley would be the party’s Assembly candidate in LD-24. This is a very Republican district, so running here as a Dem has a “take one for the team” quality about it.
But Fernandez has a backstory.
She ran briefly last fall as an independent in CD-7. That prompted her to attend town hall meetings of then-incumbent Tom Malinowski and criticize him – for among other things – refusing to debate her.
With Morris Dems still upset with Malinowski’s loss last fall to Tom Kean Jr., there was no way they were going to back Fernandez for the Assembly, even as a sacrificial lamb.
So Fernandez didn’t file a petition to run in the Democratic primary.
Of course, if she wants to run as an independent, she has until the June primary date to file.