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Soon after he decided in 2018 to leave the Assembly, Republican Michael Patrick Carroll observed that there’s nothing as impotent as serving in the Legislative minority in Trenton.
A growing number of his fellow Republicans don’t see things that way. They want an Assembly seat, minority status or not.
Anthony R. Bucco’s move to the Senate leaves his District 25 Assembly seat open. The district includes northern and western Morris County and Bernardsville in Somerset. The 237 GOP committee members from the district will convene Nov, 21 in Randolph to name a replacement for Bucco. It gets complicated, given the fact a replacement will be selected to fill the remainder of Bucco’s current term, and than presumably selected again to fill the term Bucco will not be accepting in January. Got it?
But let’s leave the technicalities aside for a moment and concentrate on the people.
Aura Dunn and John Barbaraula, both of whom ran unsuccessfully for Assembly in the June primary, are seeking convention support.
And over the weekend, Alison Deeb of Morristown expressed her interest. Deeb just lost reelection to the town council in Morristown, but that in itself should not disqualify her given the town’s Democratic make-up.
In fact, her minority status in Morristown should be a plus, Deeb said in her letter.
“I was the first Republican councilperson elected in Morristown in 15 years and was the overall top vote-getter,” she said in her letter. “I was then reelected twice in 2011 and 2015. Who better understands the difficult political environment than someone like me who has lived it first hand.”
There still could be more candidates.
GOP sources have identified Freeholder Deborah Smith, Craig Heard of Roxbury, a long-time Republican fundraiser, and Sarah Neibart, the deputy mayor of Mendham Township as possible candidates. They all have until Thursday to decide.
Candidates have an initial advantage if many are running. Convention rules stipulate there is no winner until someone gets more than 50 percent of the vote. If that doesn’t happen in the first round of voting, the top two go head-to-head in a second round. So, if there are six or more candidates in the race, the hopefuls, theoretically at least, need fewer votes to get to the second round.