LD-26 Flashpoint: DeCroce on the Move

DOVER – As Mayor Carolyn Blackman presided over the town’s annual reorganization meeting Tuesday night, she took time to complement the work of administrator BettyLou DeCroce.

Blackman credited DeCroce. who came aboard in October, as someone who has helped the governing body handle many myriad obligations.

Nothing unusual about a mayor praising the administrator; this type of stuff is common in government.

But the interesting thing for politicos is that Dover is a solidly-Democratic town and DeCroce is a former Republican Assemblywoman from the 26th District.

And to complete the intriguing political picture here, the man DeCroce replaced in the town’s top administrative job was fellow Republican John O. Bennett. He is a former state senator, who also served ever so briefly as acting governor.

Bipartisanship, you see, can happen.

“I was born in Dover,” DeCroce said after the meeting,  establishing a connection.

DeCroce, who is now the permanent administrator after beginning as “acting,” does have a lot of government experience.

She was township clerk in Roxbury before getting a senior position in the state Department of Community Affairs under then-Governor Chruis Christie.

She moved to the Assembly as a replacement for her late husband, Alex DeCroce, who died in 2012.

DeCroce left the Assembly after losing a primary battle in June of 2021. She may be comfortable in her current position, but she also wants to get back to the Assembly.

She says she plans to run again this year in LD-26.

Under a new legislative map, the district’s two incumbents are Jay Webber and Brian Bergen, who has moved over from LD-25.

The district, which covers parts of Morris and Passaic counties, remains solidly Republican, raising the importance of the March GOP nominating convention and the June primary.

With DeCroce intent on running, the question is, will she have any running mates? She says that’s a possibility, but with the convention two months away, time is of the essence.

Whoever runs in the primary, DeCroce’s new friends in Dover can’t vote for her.

Not only are they Democrats, Dover is not in LD-26.

The breaks of the game.

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