DeCroce Ready to Rumble

With algae bloom closing the lake to swimmers, local office holders and candidates are trying to portray themselves as chief protectors of Lake Hopatcong, the state’s largest freshwater lake, going forward.

Some may recall a humorous book years ago entitled “Real Women Don’t Pump Gas.”

Fast forward to 2023 and BettyLou DeCroce has a catchy slogan of her own.

“Conservative women don’t whine – we work.”

So says DeCroce after Saturday’s Morris County Republican Convention. Laura Ali, the GOP chair, called it an “incredible day.”

But not for everyone.

There really wasn’t all that much suspense. The favorites prevailed.

There were three interesting contests – LD 26, LD 24 and county commissioner.

Let’s start with LD-26 and the above quote.

DeCroce represented the district in the Assembly following the death of her husband, Alex, in 2012 until two years ago when she lost both the convention support and ultimately, the June primary.

She is seeking to regain her seat in a district that has changed somewhat under the new map. Jay Webber remains in the district; Brian Bergen is new, moving over from LD-25.
DeCroce got 46 votes, losing badly to Bergen and Webber. It was interesting to insiders that Bergen, a relative newcomer, got 35 more votes than Webber, a well-established conservative. Interesting, but what does it mean? Maybe nothing.

Her defeat prompted DeCroce’s statement. Here it is in full:

“It’s on. We are going to a primary race in June. The 26th District desperately needs effective conservative representation in Trenton. That’s what I offer to voters. Conservative women don’t whine – we work.”

To paraphrase another well-known cultural saying – “There’s no whining in politics,” one supposes.

In the LD-26 Senate race, incumbent Joe Pennacchio beat challenger Tom Mastrangelo by more than 3-1 for the convention endorsement.

Mastrangelo responded with a statement of his own.:”

“Over the next few months, I look forward to reaching out to the people of Parsippany. Montville Township and the surrounding towns as I continue to campaign, work hard and be the strong voice for the people. Pennacchio may be the choice of a very few political party insiders, but I am a political outsider who has consistently been elected by the people and proud to continue my fight for the people. See you in the June primary.”

Mastrangelo has experience winning “off the line.” He did that last year to keep his county commissioner’s seat.

Of course, to do it, he sharply attacked opponent Sarah Neibart for attending a drag queen event in Mendham Township, where she was mayor. Litigation followed with a suit and countersuit being settled privately.

One must ask, what does Mastrangelo have in store for Pennacchio?

And conversely, what does the incumbent have planned for Mastrangelo? This is already sounding like fun.

There also is a spirited race in LD-24 where all three seats – one Senate and two Assembly – are open.

It was the team of Parker Space for Senate and Mike Inganamort and Dawn Fantasia for Assembly who easily got the Morris nod.

LD-24 basically remains a Sussex County district, so the Morris endorsement has to be viewed with that in mind.

You can expect this to be a donneybrook as well.

Space is being challenged by Steve Lonegan, who is both a perennial candidate and a colorful personality.

Then, there is the Assembly team of Josh Aikens and Jason Sarnoski, who say that they are the “real” conservatives in the race.

As for county commissioner, incumbent Tayfun Selen got the endorsement, besting Paul DeGroot and Anthony Somma.

This is familiar territory for DeGroot. who lost the GOP convention nod to Selen last year when both were running for Congress in CD-11.

Undaunted, DeGroot won the primary, propelled by a massive win in Passaic County, where he grew up and served as an assistant prosecutor.

Of course, if there is a DeGroot-Selen II, Passaic won’t matter.

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3 responses to “DeCroce Ready to Rumble”

  1. Betty Lou give it up your no fiscal conservative , a lot of Parsippany residents remember your shenanigans with the MJIF costing taxpayers $250,000 more a year for insurance thus benefiting your political cronies.

  2. Typical Republican in fighting, all pretending to be conservative while united Democrats keep gaining ground. Republican party is dead in NJ.

  3. Hey Roy Messmer, why don’t you worry about your own politicians in your state and know the facts before you open your mouth.

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