PARSIPPANY – The campaign blueprint is simple.
Four years ago, developers and their associates ran this town. But no more.
And the only way to keep them at bay is to re-elect Michael Soriano as mayor. That was the message as the Democratic mayor formally launched his re-election campaign Thursday night over Zoom.
Soriano, who ousted Republican Jamie Barberio in 2017, pledged a campaign that will appeal to every neighborhood and group in town.
Assuming this is not mere chatter, that’s a tall order.
This sprawling township of more than 50,000 people includes many neighborhoods and a diverse population.
In his “state of the township” address a few weeks ago, Soriano stressed his anti-development credentials, saying that under his watch, no township land has been sold for development.
Tonight, he ridiculed Republicans for hyping a proposed park in the Glenmount Commons development without supporting soil tests on what had been an industrial site. He said a park can not be constructed
unless children will be safe.
So far, there are three possible Republican candidates – Barberio, Lou Valori, a former councilman, and Chris Mazzerella.
Valori reacted to Soriano’s kickoff before the event, saying, “It takes a lot of nerve to ask Parsippany voters if they want four more years of unrestrained municipal mismanagement and spending, expensive
patronage hires and higher taxes and fees. Parsippany is going in the wrong direction with this administration and deserves better government.”
Parsippany has been leaning left of late – Joe Biden carried the town last fall, as did the party’s entire ticket. But Democrats expect a tough re-election fight.
Matt Clarkin, the chair of the Parsippany Democratic Committee, warned that Soriano will be opposed by serious money and serious outside forces.
The mayor was introduced by Rep. Mikie Sherrill, who fondly recalled Soriano’s 2017 run.
Things were very different then. Sherrill at the time was a new candidate for Congress in a district that seemed to be solidly “red.”
“Your big win set the table for my win down the road,” Sherrill told the mayor.