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Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco is now officially on the way to replacing his late father in the state Senate.
The younger Bucco was the only candidate to express interest in seeking the seat at a Republican convention next Tuesday in Mountain Lakes. Tuesday of this week was the deadline for candidates to tell the Morris County Republican Committee they wanted to run for the seat and Bucco was the only one to do so, according to GOP sources. The convention will include Republican county committee members from the 20 towns in District 25 and the one district town in Somerset, Bernardsville.
It was widely expected in political circles that the younger Bucco would replace his father, who died last month. Nonetheless, judging from local history it’s a bit surprising no one else wants to run. Back in 2012 when BettyLou DeCroce was picked to replace her late husband, Alex, in the Assembly in District 26, she had a convention opponent, Larry Casha. Even Rodney Frelinghuysen had token opposition when he was picked by a convention to replace the deceased Dean Gallo on the District 11 congressional ballot back in 1994.
Bucco being the only candidate certainly simplifies things, but the picture remains a bit fuzzy.
Bucco still plans to stay on the ballot as a reelection candidate for his Assembly seat. If he wins, he is expected to resign and then join the Senate. This would necessitate yet another convention to pick a new Assembly member. And that would mean that the new legislator would be selected not by voters, but by political insiders.
Maneuvering of this type is not unique and is done by both political parties.
In this case, however, it certainly provides Democrats with some campaign ammunition.AMB Senate Vacancy Intent Letter