Cresitello Out; Dougherty to un Unopposed in Morristown General

MORRISTOWN – Donald Cresitello’s mayoral comeback seems to have hit a dead-end.

A state appeals court Tuesday brusquely dismissed Cresitello’s challenge to a lower court ruling that said he didn’t live in Morristown.

The courts agree that election law should be liberally construed to assure widespread participation, but there are limits – one of which is living where you want to run.

Cresitello, who is no fan of current mayor Tim Dougherty, filed nominating petitions in June to challenge Dougherty this November as an independent. It was Doughery who beat Cresitello, who was then the incumbent mayor, in the 2009 Democratic primary.

But the Morris County Clerk’s Office said Cresitello’s petition was invalid because of residency questions. A candidate must be a resident for at least one year prior to an election and the evidence suggested Cresitello lived in Manasquan.

Cresitello has acknowledged not securing permanent residency in Morristown until May, but has insisted he’s lived in town since last Nov. 1 staying with friends.

Judge Stuart Minkowitz in state Superior Court was not persuaded, ruling last month that Cresitello’s living arrangement didn’t satisfy the residency rules. The Appellate Division concurred, calling Minkowitz’ ruling “thoughtful” and adding that Cresitello’s contention the judge overlooked key evidence was “unfounded.”

No Republican filed to run for mayor.

So the bottom line is that Dougherty will be unopposed for what will be his fourth term.

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