Donald Dinsmore and Other Political Challengers Face an Uphill Battle in Winning Over Morris County

Evan Weiss, an expert in public finance and economic development, has been hired by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as Senior Advisor for Public Finance.

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP – Sometimes, says Donald Dinsmore, you just have to change things. He’s talking about the Morris County freeholders.

Dinsmore, a lawyer, is running with William Felegi, a teacher and army veteran, and Cathy Winterfield, who works in finance at Seton Hall University, against three incumbents in the June 4 Republican primary, Doug Cabana, Tom Mastrangelo and Kathy DeFillippo.

It’s an uphill battle to be sure, but the challengers do have the number one ballot position. Morris County political history tells us that can mean something.

As for issues, the three candidates took turns at a Tuesday night fundraiser at a  biergarten here to complain about “crony capitalism.” Dinsmore specifically brought up a legal battle involving a county health insurance broker. In short, the county switched brokers only to eventually sue the newly-retained broker for fraud.

Dinsmore’s point – there was no reason to make the change in the first place. And he suggested that campaign contributions may have had something to do with the change. Imagine that.

Along these same lines, Winterfield said the freeholders have employed the same auditing firm for about 20 years, which she said violates “best practices.” She said a change is needed.

It’s hard to see an election turning on insurance brokers and auditing firms, but here’s the overall point. 

“I really don’t feel Tom, Doug and Kathy are being good public servants anymore,” Felegi said.

Another point is that the incumbents have become too chummy with local unions. The challengers say some unions may contribute to Republicans out of necessity, but that only goes so far. The challengers said the same unions who occasionally support Morris Republicans also backed Democratic congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill.

Primaries are truly hard to figure. There are usually no reliable polls and the turnout figures to be quite low.

The trio of challengers said Tuesday that former freeholder Hank Lyon has endorsed them.

Lyon will always be a big part of the county’s political history, having toppled a better-known incumbent to win a freeholder seat in 2011 at age 23.

Having Lyon on their side is one thing; now the Dinsmore, Felegi, Winterfield trio must duplicate Lyon’s startling upset of eight years ago.

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