MORRISTOWN – Donald Cresitello’s mayoral comeback has hit a roadblock.
Ann Grossi, the Morris County Clerk, has ruled that Cresitello can’t run for mayor as an independent, because he doesn’t live in Morristown.
Cresitello, as is his wont, is not taking that decision lying down. He says he’s going to court to get it overturned.
He called Grossi’s decision “crazy,” adding that the establishment in both parties doesn’t want him to run.
“What is their fear?” he asked in a conversation this morning.
Specifically, it was the Morris County Democratic Committee that challenged Cresitello’s residency. Grossi is a Republican.
Cresitello, of course, has experience with both parties and then some. At varying times in his political career, he has been a Republican, a Democrat and an independent.
Cresitello was most recently elected mayor as a Democrat in 2005. He lost a reelection bid in 2009 to current mayor Tim Dougherty.
By filing earlier this month as an independent, Cresitello wants another crack at Dougherty, who easily survived a primary challenge two weeks ago.
Residency can be a difficult thing to pin down. There are many cases in politics of someone living in one place, but having an official address somewhere else.
In the case at hand, Cresitello acknowledges that he has a home in Manasquan and that he essentially moved there in 2012.
But he says he changed his official address back to 18 Lincoln Street in Morristown last fall and that he’s been re-registered as a Morristown voter since last October.
One problem here, according to the clerk’s interpretation, is that Cresitello also maintains that he occasionally stays in his business office on New Street or in a friend’s spare bedroom.
Grossi also points out that much of the legal correspondence Cresitello submitted went to his business address, not his purported home address on Lincoln Street. She also said that Cresitello’s own legal documents, including his driver’s license, list his Manasquan address.
In short, Grossi said the only indication Cresitello “lives” in Morristown is that he registered to vote there seven months ago.
She concluded that while Cresitello spends much time in Morristown and may indeed be looking for a permanent place to live in town, he does not do so at the moment.
So he can’t run for mayor.
At least as of now; let’s see what the courts say.