The goal of a “county line” is to avoid intra-party squabbling and to bring about some type of unity.
Things don’t always work out that way.
After years of no “county line” and “open primaries,” Morris County Republicans voted for a county line beginning in 2021. This was proposed and secured by Laura Ali, the chair of the Morris County Republican Committee.
As was the case the last two years, a convention of county committee members was held and candidates were endorsed.
There are also candidates running without endorsement, or “off-line,” this primary season for county commissioner and three legislative spots in LD-26.
And now the four off-line candidates are getting a boost from John Sette, a former county chair himself.
Sette, who runs a political action committee known as the Morris County Republican Victory
PAC, is holding a fundraiser on May 16 featuring radio host Bill Spadea as the special guest.
Of more interest perhaps to party insiders, is that the “honored guests” at the reception are the four candidates not endorsed by the county’s Republican committee.
They are Tom Mastrangelo for state Senate, BettyLou DeCroce and Robert Peluso for state Assembly and Paul DeGroot for county commissioner.
Sette said in a phone conversation that when the line was adopted, Ali said candidates were still welcome to run “off-line.” He said that’s exactly what these four candidates are doing,
The invite to the event at the Grand Cafe, a Morristown fine dining establishment, notes that the
PAC’s goal is to elect “conservative Republican candidates.” It said the upcoming event will be the PAC’s first fundraiser in three years. The Victory PAC has been around since 2002.
All this sounds dandy, but one can’t ignore the reality of a fundraiser being held to support candidates not endorsed by the Morris County Republican Committee.
One person not amused is Ali, who said the following in a statement:
“Who cares? Sette is flailing at a comeback and Spadea thinks attaching himself to him will help him become governor. Let’s see how both turn out.”
Sette says he doesn’t want a “comeback,” but there have been rumors about Spadea running for governor in 2025.
As for the May 16 event, Ali said she and others have previous plans.
“Morris County Republicans will be in Long Valley that evening supporting our great mayor.” That would be Matt Murello.