In a sign the special state Senate election in District 25 is sizing up to be a real race, incumbent Anthony M. Bucco is attacking his Democratic opponent, Rupande Mehta.
That’s interesting because incumbents often tend to just ignore their opponents.
The impetus for all this is the pandemic; no surprise there.
We begin this saga three months ago when Bucco joined with the Morris County Chamber of Commerce to compile an unsolicited report for the governor on ways the state could safely reopen. The state, in fact, did begin its stages of reopening a few weeks later.
Gov. Phil Murphy often has said he responds to the findings of medical experts, not political pressure. No matter, as is the case in politics, Bucco is taking some of the credit.
He says the committee’s recommendations “have panned out without new virus spikes since June 1.”
In a recent Facebook post, Mehta claims that the incumbent Republican “has been negligent throughout his time in office during times of need and is only voicing his stance on this public health issue now that he is up for re-election.” She added that “Bucco’s ignorance further exacerbates our current public health crisis.”
Bucco is not taking kindly to that swipe.
Today, he fired back at Mehta, saying that her seeming opposition to the report in question shows she is so extreme she is “out of step with the governor of her own party.” And for good measure, the senator added that this is not the time to send “inexperienced hyper-partisans” like Mehta to Trenton.
District 25, which covers northern and western Morris County plus Bernardsville in Somerset, has been strongly Republican. But the Dems are making inroads.
Recent voter registration data gives Republicans an estimated 4,700 voter advantage in the district. Two years ago, it was about 9,000.