Prominent Morris County Republicans opposing plans for a “county line” appear to be growing. At least the ones willing to do so publicly.
Snowstorm or not, Concerned Morris Republicans, an “anti-line group” (there’s a name for you) dispatched a letter this morning signed by 11 county Republicans in opposition to a planned “line.”
Morris Republicans are set to vote this coming Saturday on instituting a county line, a system in which the county organization would endorse candidates in primaries, thereby giving them a big boost. This is how most county parties across the state on both sides do things, but Morris Republicans have been always different.
The letter was signed by former chairs John Sette, Lois Johnson and Marilyn Cioffi. all of whom signed a previous letter. But this one also included signatures from three former freeholders, David Scapicchio, Gene Feyl and Bill Chegwidden. It was also signed by five current or former municipal officials – Rob Peluso (Parsippany), Phylllis Florek (Mendham Township), Sam Morris (Mine Hill), Mark Taylor (Florham Park) and Paul Carelli (Riverdale).
The thrust of the letter is simple.
If Morris Republicans forsake an open primary for a county line, the Morris GOP will become just another political machine beset with nepotism, back-room deals and jobs for the politically connected.
Another point raised is a charge party leaders want to keep control, but the opponents note that Morris Republicans already have lost control.
Stressing that point, the letter notes with aghast amazement that Republicans have lost congressional seats and that “for the first time in our history, Morris County voted Democrat in a presidential election.”
That last point is not true. LBJ carried Morris County in 1964 before Joe Biden did so this year. Still, you can catch the drift.
There is some irony here.
Supporters of the line, including county chair Laura Ali, are well aware that Morris is more competitive today than it was just a decade ago.
And they say that’s why the county organization needs a line to ensure the best candidates represent Republicans in the fall.