The Mayoral Facebook War


MORRISTOWN – A while back, a Facebook page, Morristown Watch, appeared with the obvious intent of denying a new term to Mayor Tim Dougherty.

Oh sure, the page hypes the mayoral candidacy of Esperanza Porras Field, but its real goal appears to be sullying Dougherty. Scan the posts and you see much about litigation filed against the town and references to the recent guilty plea of the mayor’s wife to “false swearing.” Mary Dougherty was sentenced to probation in a case that began when she allegedly accepted a $10,000 cash donation for her Morris County freeholder campaign in 2018.

The page explains itself this way:

“Morristown Watch is a grassroots endeavor formed to distinguish, report and bring issues to light of wrongdoing – under the current leadership.” Leaving nothing to the imagination, the page also says it is ready to expose “municipal corruption within Morristown government.”

The page features a picture of a mobile billboard that suggests someone called “Individual #1” should be incarcerated. You can probably figure out who that is supposed to be.

Alleging corruption and wrongdoing without documented evidence may sound a bit libelous, but, as we know, there aren’t many rules when it comes to the Internet and political campaign speech.

The Morristown Watch page has been out there for the last month or so in the run-up to the June 8 Democratic primary when Dougherty and Porras Field face off.

But just this week, a new player inched its way into Morristown’s cyber space.

This Facebook page is called Watching Morristown and uses the same style of the other one.

Clearly, the cleverness of the town’s politicians knows no bounds.

Here’s how it describes itself:

“Do you love Morristown, but not people that spread negative lies and misinformation about it? If so, this page is for you. We only post verified and properly investigated news and information on this page. No propaganda.”

A post today refers to a summons Porras-Field got more than a decade ago for “stacking.”

Its profile photo is of a blooming tree on the Morristown Green. How poetic.

There is nothing unusual about contrasting political Facebook pages, but that still doesn’t detract from the amusement of watching them go at it.

Many of the nation’s earliest luminaries traversed Morristown and are so honored around town. The list includes Washington, Hamilton, Lafayette and Thomas Paine.

They had to rely on pamphlets and public speaking, A pity.

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