Republicans Rain on Murphy’s Morris Parade

Trump and the Republicans in Morris.


RANDOLPH – When the SUV carrying Phil Murphy got to this morning’s Democratic rally in a township park, it was followed by an interloper, a truck with signs urging support for Republicans Anthony M. Bucco and Aura Dunn.

Hudson County style politics in bucolic Morris. Go figure?

The driver of the truck, incidentally, said he was hired by a Republican consultant, but wasn’t all that familiar with the issue at hand.

The issue here is a tight race in LD-25, the only Legislative race on the agenda this year. The presidential race may overshadow just about everything, but this election is a big deal locally.

Fresh from winning two congressional seats and narrowing the registration gap, Democrats hope they can grab a Senate and an Assembly seat in a district that covers northern and western Morris and one town in Somerset, Bernardsville.

It was that hope that brought Murphy to today’s “launch rally.” After the speeches, volunteers were to flock out around the district to drop off literature and visit voters.

The governor’s presence was itself noteworthy. Because of COVID, Murphy in particular and the Democrats in general have held very few in-person events. Murphy said his trip to Randolph was to be his only live event of the day; the others would be virtual.

The Democrats are Rupande Mehta challenging Bucco in the Senate and Darcy Draeger against Dunn in the Assembly.

“The 25th is there for the taking,” the governor said. “We’ve got 48 hours.”

The governor, who is fond of sport references, said that in most of Morris, Democrats are “playing an away game.” But he said it’s important not to shy away from competing in traditional Republican terrain.

“You stay at (it) and you grind,” Murphy said.

Today, Nov. 1, was when state health care exchanges went live.

This has been one of the political battles arising from the Affordable Care Act. Health care exchanges are where individuals shop for health insurance. They are run by either the feds or the states. The Christie Administration opted to let the federal government oversee the exchanges, which the Murphy Administration changed. Supporters say a state-run exchange is more attuned to the particular needs of residents.

Murphy blasted Bucco and Dunn for, among other things, opposing state-run exchanges.

“They have been on the wrong side. They both deserve to lose,” he said.

While this was going on, the truck was parked a few hundred feet away.

Its sign also reminded people that the state has cut school aid to Randolph by about $2 million.

Bucco picked up on that theme in a phone chat after the Democrats’ rally. He said the last thing the district needs is to send Mehta and Draeger to Trenton to “rubber stamp” whatever Murphy wants to do.

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