Gators in Morris County

In the Congressional District 5 Republican primary, Steve Lonegan recently used an image of bigfoot to disparage his opponent John McCann.

Over in Morris County, politicians are doing better than that by using a real creature, not a mythical one, to attack their adversaries.

The latest mailing from the freeholder candidate team of Deborah Smith, John Krickus and Stephan Shaw features an image of an alligator in – what else? – a swamp.

The creature looks ready to pounce. On what we don’t know, but that’s not really the point.

The Smith-Krickus-Shaw team is using the gator to declare opponents John Cesaro and Aura Dunn as “part of the swamp.”

Aside from the image, which really is pretty good, the piece essentially repeats allegations made in a previous mailer.

And they are that Cesaro, an incumbent freeholder, violated town bidding laws as a Parsippany councilman and that he practiced law while ineligible to do so for about seven months.

The problem arose when Cesaro failed to register with the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts, or IOLTA fund, which provides legal services for low-income residents, Cesaro at the time called it an inadvertent clerical error.

The mailer also repeats an allegation that Dunn, who works for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, is a “D.C. lobbyist.”

The swamp imagery in terms of politics emerged from Donald Trump who boasted about “draining the swamp” in Washington.

That may have made some sense in the political realm nationally, Trump was – and is – an outsider.

However, it’s hard to see how it translates into the world of Morris County.

Smith is a freeholder now. What swamp does she want to drain?  Krickus is a former freeholder.

While Cesaro is also a freeholder, Dunn has never run before for political office in the county.

Of course, it’s a bit unrewarding to try to analyze political mailings too carefully.

The overall point is the negative tone the Smith-Krickus-Shaw team is taking. Three nominations are up on Tuesday.

Smith says that there was negative campaigning  three years ago by her opponents and it was successful.

Cesaro and Dunn have so far not returned fire.

Cesaro assumed he and Dunn are doing well if their opponents are going negative.

And he acknowledged that being compared to an alligator is not the worst thing in the world – as creature comparisons go.

“Alligators swim, they walk on land, they eat a lot,” he said. “I eat a lot.”

Actually, Cesaro, who a short time ago dropped about 70 pounds, probably doesn’t eat as much as he used to.

Can an alligator say that?

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