The Intensifying Morris Campaign Cycle’s Inevitable ‘Grenades’ Reference

Three incumbent Morris County freeholders appear well on their way to victory in what has been a particularly nasty 2019 election.

RANDOLPH – Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo wants his opponents to play nice.

“This team came up here throwing grenades,” Mastrangelo said of the trio challenging him and his two colleagues in the June 4 Morris County Republican primary.

Actually, the challengers – Donald Dinsmore, Will Felegi and Cathy Winterfield – used Wednesday’s candidates’ night at La Strada Restaurant to throw some harsh criticism at Mastrangelo and fellow incumbents Doug Cabana and Kathy DeFillippo.

The challengers faulted the incumbent freeholders for a botched solar energy project, hiring a health insurance broker they eventually sued and for having the same auditing firm for years. To the Dinsmore team, all this smells like “crony capitalism” happening behind closed doors and spurred by campaign donations.

Dinsmore said he wants more decisions made in open session and that he plans to term-limit himself to prevent getting too cozy with contractors.

The team of challengers said very much the same thing a week ago at a fundraiser. But on this night, they spoke in front of their opponents and loyal Randolph Republicans. Dinsmore said afterwards he wants to show a “strong contrast” between the two slates.

Cabana, the senior man on the board and one of the longest serving freeholders in New Jersey, brushed it off,  saying, “When you don’t have any issues, you go negative.”

Mastrangelo was less philosophical, saying he did some investigating of Dinsmore. It was rather tame stuff, just a rundown of some of the public jobs Dinsmore has held.  Mastrangelo, who said all candidates get campaign contributions, then warned his opponents to be careful and not to accuse the incumbents of being “crooks.”

Normally, warnings come with an unsaid, “Or else.”  Time will tell if that’s the case here.

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