The Season of Somma

RANDOLPH – Anthony Somma doesn’t like the numbers.

“If you look the past five years, for every (new) registered Republican, there are three registered Democrats.”

He’s talking about Morris County and let’s review the data.

Back in 2015, Republicans led Democrats in voter registration in Morris by about 43,000. By 2020, that advantage had dwindled to 28,000 and now it’s 17,000.

Reasons include changing demographics and a distinct possibility moderate voters were turned off by Donald Trump.

Somma sees another problem.

He says the party puts up candidates “who don’t reflect what the voters want to see.” A bit later, he elaborated:

“What’s the message we are sending out to people?”

Whatever the message turns out to be going forward, Somma wants to help spread it.

He has announced his candidacy for Morris County Commissioner, saying Republicans need to do more – now. Or else:

“Unless we act now, Morris County families will flee and be replaced by liberals from New York who don’t share our values and won’t vote in the interests of taxpayers and families.”

Fear of unsettling change coming over the nearest hill is a longstanding political talking point. But is it real?

Notwithstanding changing voter registration, Republicans have had no trouble maintaining total control of the board of freeholders/commissioners. Morris is a very nice place to live with many attributes, which doesn’t offer much for Democrats to campaign on.

Somma, though, suggests that Republicans can still do better minding the store – so to speak,

In a conversation Wednesday morning at a local diner, he says there were too many problems at the polls in the last election, namely voting machine woes and long lines in the western part of the county, which is, as it happens, the most staunchly Republican part of the county.

Somma also says county roads need to be better maintained and that spending millions on a proposed new courthouse in Morristown should not be done without proper review. Somma, 32, has professional experience in both finance and insurance, attributes that he says would help him on the board. He now sits on the Randolph Republican committee.

Party politics, of course, is the main driver in primaries.

Running for countywide office your first time out may strike some as too big a jump. Why not the town council?

Somma says Randolph is a very well-run community and there’s no reason to challenge anyone on the governing body. He also said he’s pleased that candidates who share his views have run, or are running, for the township school board. That leaves the board of commissioners.

Only one seat is up this year and incumbent Tayfun Selen is running again. Selen already has publicized endorsements from scores of Morris Republican leaders.

Paul DeGroot, who ran unsuccessfully in CD-11 last year, also is a possible candidate.

In a release announcing his candidacy, Somma condemned Selen for “raising taxes” and embracing “Democrat-style stimulus programs.”

The apparent reference is to the county’s use of federal pandemic relief funds to award grants to small businesses. Commissioners consider the grant program a rousing success.

The Morris convention to endorse a commission candidate is March 4.

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2 responses to “The Season of Somma”

  1. “Unless we act now, Morris County families will flee and be replaced by liberals from New York who don’t share our values and won’t vote in the interests of taxpayers and families.” – Why don’t we build a wall along the border of Morris County to stop all the people who won’t vote republican from moving in! This sort of divisive rhetoric is to be expected from the gop, sad.

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