Musella v. Mastrangelo in Morris County


Update: Late this afternoon, Chris Mastrangelo withdrew from the race for chair of the Morris County Young Republicans, citing personal reasons.

Election studies suggest young people are not interested in politics, and that most of those who are, lean left.

So, if young adults are actively engaged in Republican politics, that’s a good thing for the GOP.

That is precisely what’s happening in Morris County where a contested election for chair of the Morris Young Republicans is on tap for Thursday.

This may seem ho-hum and pretty provincial, but a few things are involved.

Justin Musella, the current chairman, is being challenged for reelection by Chris Mastrangelo, who is the son of Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo. Family connections are always interesting in politics.

Then, there’s the contest itself.

Following some nasty fights for chair of the county Republican Committee in 2018 and freeholder in 2019,  peace has descended upon Morris Republicans.

There were no party fights this year in the primary or for county chair. Some of this had to be pandemic related, but party leaders like Anthony M. Bucco said unity was needed to ward off the Democrats. That was basically accomplished two weeks ago as Republicans held seats on the freeholder board and in LD-25, Bucco’s Senate seat included.

So a contested party race of any kind breaks from the recent norm. Both candidates have circulated letters seeking support.

Musella said the Morris Young Republicans are doing what they are supposed to do – increasing club membership and helping the GOP win elections. He particularly singled out Ashley Felice, a club member in line to win a township committee seat in Chatham Township, a locale where Republicans have experienced rough going of late.

“As you know, I am a doer, not a talker or a keyboard warrior,” Musella said.

Mastrangelo authored a shorter letter in which he stressed his experience with campaigning and “messaging.”  He said that’s critical because Morris Republicans have been under attack by Democrats on all levels.

If there is a political issue here, it may be that Musella is planning to seek a council seat in Parsippany next year.

Mastrangelo referenced Musella’s plans, adding that he would focus solely on the Young Republicans, “not personal endeavors.”

Musella was ready for that.

He said Mastrangelo should understand that “the mission of the club is to get good young Republicans elected to office throughout Morris County. There is no more important race than winning back Parsippany in 2021.”

In case you forget, the mayor of Parsippany is Democrat Mike Soriano.

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