Grayzel Comes Full Circle

MORRIS TOWNSHIP – Democrat Jeff Grayzel comes across as a student of local history.

Shortly before the polls closed Tuesday, Grayzel sent over a text pointing out that in 2007, he broke the 5-0 Republican monopoly on the township committee. It took a special election for that to happen, but it did.

Grayzel’s more recent message took note of the opposite. He said a win by him last night would defeat the lone Republican on the committee and give Dems a 5-0 hold.

And that is precisely what happened.

Grayzel and fellow Democratic candidate Donna Guariglia beat Republican incumbent Peter Mancuso and Sherry Nardolillo.

Officially, Grayzel beat Mancuso and Guariglia beat Nardolillo. Because of a vacancy, the seats were not coupled together,

At any rate, things have come full circle in about 15 years.

The governing body has gone from 5-0 Republican to, beginning next year, 5-0 Democratic and Grayzel was involved at both ends of the equation.

This is only one town of many in Morris County and New Jersey.

But it does symbolize how a very-reliable GOP county has changed.

And that change is why Mikie Sherrill carried Morris County on Tuesday for the third time in a row. It would have been unheard of for a Democratic congressional candidate to win the county during the heyday of Dean Gallo and Rodney Frelinghuysen.

The Republican drama in the township also mirrors what’s happening throughout the country.

One reason why Morris County has become more competitive in my view revolves around Donald Trump’s brand of politics turning off many moderate, suburban Republicans. Some would call these folk, RINOS, but those who do, forget that the GOP needs so-called RINOS to win elections.

That split was certainly evident in Morris Township.

One of the GOP candidates, Nardolillo, is a Trump supporter who traveled to Washington for the Jan. 6 rally.

Mancuso is what used to be called a Rockefeller Republican.

The two Republicans ran separate campaigns. Nardolillo at one point sent out a mailer saying Grayzel represented “the swamp.”

That, very simply, is not Mancuso’s style.

Elections, as we know, have consequences, and the consequence here could be the end of Mancuso’s political career.

If that’s the case, it should not go unnoticed.

Mancuso has served in township government for more than 20 years, although not consecutively. He also has been active in many charitable and public service organizations, including the Morris Museum,
the Market Street Mission and County College of Morris.

In short, if there was something worthwhile going on in the township or in Morris County, Mancuso was probably a part of it.


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