DeCroce Shakes off Encounter with a ‘500-pound Bear’

DOVER – BettyLou DeCroce is doing double duty today.

She is, of course, trying to win back a LD-26 Assembly seat she lost in 2021 beginning with today’s Republican primary.

To that end, she says, “I’ve knocked on more doors than in any of my previous campaigns,”  noting that an encounter with a “500-pound bear” in Riverdale didn’t dissuade her.

But then, there’s her day job – administrator in Dover, which just happens to have a three-person Democratic mayoral primary going on.

Politics in any town can be acrimonious and Dover is no exception.

But speaking from her town hall office early this afternoon, DeCroce said there are no “problems” with Dover’s primary. In this vein, “problems” can mean anything from a jammed voting machine to fistfights in the street.

But not today.

“It’s been all quiet on the front,” she said.

In the race, former mayor James Dodd is trying to win back the job he lost four years ago.

Mayor Carolyn Blackman, who beat Dodd, is seeking reelection, as is Ed Correa, a former town alderman.

As for DeCroce’s other election, she is one of four candidates seeking two GOP Assembly nods in a district covering eastern Morris and parts of Passaic County. Dover is not in the district.

Conventional wisdom – for what it’s worth – suggests that incumbent Jay Webber will win one of the seats, making this mainly a contest between DeCroce and incumbent Brian Bergen for the other spot.

They have spent much of the last month criticizing each other for not being conservative enough. That banter ends today.

Bergen, for his part, had his own booth at Sunday’s street fair in Denville in which he urged people to “Vote Today.” He had early voting in mind.

Looking ahead to the fall, Morris County has become more competitive of late, but LD-26 remains strongly Republican.





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