Last week, delighted Democrats sent out a release trumpeting the fact one of their own, Patrick Antonetti, had won a Ward 3 council seat in Lincoln Park, Morris County. He beat Republican Raymond Kerwin by 32 votes.
Sure, this is merely a ward seat, but Democrats haven’t done much winning of late in the borough.
Still, the Dems winning in a Republican town is not sitting well with the GOP.
Republicans have filed suit asking for a recount, which is pro-forma.
But there’s more. The suit also seeks permission for plaintiffs to “examine, copy and/or scan” just about all election-related material. For starters, this includes registry books, mail-in ballots, envelope flaps, outer envelopes and inner envelopes. But it also includes all “papers, documents and records” related to the election.
Lawyer Peter King, who represents Kerwin, is also vice chair of the Morris County Republican Committee.
He reasons that this was a very unique election and that it’s worthwhile to make sure everything was done properly.
King says he has filed a similar request relative to the Mountain Lakes election.
Four seats were up in Mountain Lakes and Democrats grabbed three of them.
Republicans finished fourth and fifth. But the Democrat in third place was only 11 and 33 votes, respectively, ahead of the Republicans in four and five.
Some Morris Democrats see the post-election drama as a case of Donald Trump’s antics seeping down to the municipal level.
Antonetti. for his part, was more diplomatic. Asked about the challenge, his only comment was that he’s confident he will prevail in the end.
Still, some of this may be a trend, namely the unwillingness to accept defeat. As we said, a recount is one thing; a complete examination of everything having to do with an election is something else.
It should be noted that Rosemary Becchi, the Republican candidate in CD-11, has asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office to look into alleged voter irregularities in Essex County. She lost by 30,000 votes to Democrat Mikie Sherrill.
With all this legal skirmishing in mind, it may be instructive to look to CD-7, which also covers a part of Morris County.
It was here where Democrat Tom Malinowski survived, beating Republican Thomas H. Kean Jr, by a mere 1 percent of the vote.
And what did Kean do?
He sent out a release that included:
“Congressman Malinowski has my congratulations and my commitment for a bipartisan partnership in my capacity in the New Jersey Senate as we both continue to represent New Jersey in difficult times.”
Some “old timers” may recall when such concession statements were the norm.