In Morris, an Issues-Oriented Election Season Suddenly Goes out the Window

All of a sudden, the Republican primary for Morris County freeholder is turning nasty.

A mailing this week from the team of incumbent Deborah Smith, former freeholder John Krickus and Stephen Shaw says their opponents have “too much baggage” to win in November.

That’s a pretty rash conclusion given the fact Republicans just about always win freeholder elections in November. They’ve lost once in more than 100 years.

The mailing says incumbent John Cesaro has “trouble following the rules,” and, among other things, charges that while he was Parsippany Council President, he gave a “lucrative taxpayer-funded contract to a politically-connected vendor.”

As for Cesaro’s running-mate, Aura Dunn, the mailer says she has been a Washington lobbyist and has been “part of the problem” in D.C. So, it asks, why let her help run things in Morris County?

As is the norm with these things, the mailing includes unflattering photos of both Cesaro and Dunn.

Three Republican nominations are up on June 5.

One should never take allegations on a political mailing all that seriously. A politically-connected vendor getting a government contract? That’s news? Part of Dunn’s Washington connection is working for Rodney Frelinghuysen, who used to have exalted status among Morris Republicans. Judging from the willingness of some to attack one of Rodney’s aides, that may no longer be the case.

Interesting how things change when a congressman decides not to run again and essentially slips from public view.

An overriding question is why such negativity?

This never seemed like a campaign that would turn vicious.

“They’re just recycling old garbage,” Cesaro said, adding that he does not have “six” public jobs, as the mailer alleged.

“Up until yesterday (Wednesday), I saw an issue-based campaign,” Cesaro said.

Will he and Dunn return fire with a creative mailing of their own?

They plan to talk about it.

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