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MORRISTOWN – The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a big deal in this historic town.
It attracts thousands and thousands of people, the bars are overflowing with revelers and the politicians, of course, are out in force.
That used to be very much a Republican thing, but times have changed.
So, as the elected officials assembled behind town hall Saturday morning, two of the most prominent were Democrats, Gov. Phil Murphy and Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-District 11.
Then there was Jeff Grayzel, the newly-named Democratic mayor of Morris Township. He was wearing a sash that said, “Mayor, Morris Township.”
As he explained, “Did you ever think you’d see this?” Democrats took control of the township last fall.
Republican Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco of District 25 joined Sherrill and other Dems for a breakfast hosted by Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty in town hall.
As the elevator descended, Bucco found himself in the corner surrounded by members of the other party, the congresswoman among them.
Did this make him feel uncomfortable?
No. Bucco explained cleverly that he’s surrounded by Democrats every time he goes to Trenton.
Not all Republicans were so philosophical.
Assemblyman Michael P. Carroll, who is giving up his District 25 seat to run for county surrogate, arrived at the parade with a rifle.
Carroll is a Civil War reenactor. And as such, he marches every year dressed like a soldier in the Union army complete with a 1860’s-era rifle.
A strong Second Amendment backer, Carroll tried to give the rifle to the governor, who look bemused at the offer.
After the politicians strolled along South Street, many of them gathered yet again at the Grand Cafe – probably the classiest restaurant in town – for an after parade party with beer and corned beef sandwiches.
One of the party hosts was John Sette, the former chair of the Morris County Republican Party. Still, this was an ecumenical affair that attracted people from both parties.
But just in case any of the attendees got out of hand, Carroll was there – with his rifle.
“I think it may actually have a round or two in it,” he said.
That was good to know.