BettyLou DeCroce is running to get back to the state Assembly in LD-26.
Presumably, that is.
DeCroce, who lost a reelection bid in the 2021 primary after losing the endorsement of the Morris County Republican Committee, just sent out a letter to local Republicans. Here’s the salient part.
“As of writing this letter, I am leaning strongly toward running and look forward to speaking to many of you in the weeks and months ahead, while being sure not to distract attention from good Republicans on the ballot right now.” Those “good Republicans” are congressional candidates Tom Kean Jr. and Paul DeGroot.
Assuming she runs, DeCroce will find the terrain a bit different. Redistricting has made LD-26 a north-south district more than an east-west one. So, the new district ranges from southern Morris on up to Wanaque and Ringwood in Passaic County.
She will also have a new opponent. That would be Assemblyman Brian Bergen of Denville, who has been transplanted from LD-25. Christian Barranco who won his LD-26 seat last year will be in LD-25 as of the 2023 election cycle. The other assemblyman in LD-26 is Jay Webber. He’s an old friend of DeCroce, sort of.
The 2021 GOP primary was an acrimonious affair with Webber going after DeCroce for what was largely a symbolic vote in support of Black Lives Matter in the wake of the George Floyd killing.
DeCroce was not the only Republican to back that measure, but Webber’s campaign used that vote to portray DeCroce as some sort of anti-police anarchist. It worked, as negative campaigns often do.
Referring to that campaign, DeCroce wrote, “While in hindsight, there were things I would do differently, I am not writing to you today to look backward, rather, I am looking forward to the rest of 2022 and ahead into 2023.”
DeCroce said her record in Trenton and service to the Republican party are a source of pride. And she said she is eager to advance a number of conservative issues including such things as lowering taxes, fighting a “woke” school curriculum, honoring our veterans and defending gun rights for law abiding citizens.