Listen to audio version of this article
Aura Dunn ran for Morris County freeholder last year and finished fifth in a five-person GOP primary field. Observers like myself were a bit surprised at that, given the fact Dunn acquitted herself well in the campaign, coming across as articulate and bright.
Now Dunn is trying for elected office again – this time for the state Assembly in District 25.
In a letter to fellow Republicans, Dunn stresses her belief in the “American Dream” and promises to fight the “progressive socialist agenda of Governor Murphy and his Trenton followers.”
More specifically, Dunn says that so-called sanctuary cities “will not make our communities safer” and that “legalizing drugs while we have an addictions epidemic” is the wrong way to go.
All of this is standard Republican thinking, although you have to wonder if all in the party are staunchly opposed to legalizing marijuana. For years, the Republican Party’s Libertarian wing has opposed laws that restrict activities many members of the public want to do.
Still, that’s probably a debate for the fall.
Up first is the June primary, where incumbent Michael Patrick Carroll – one of those Libertarian types who backs legal pot – is not running again.
That leaves only one incumbent in the race, Anthony M. Bucco. Brian Bergen, a Denville councilman, is also in the race and John Barbarula, a lawyer from Randolph, is considering a run.
Dunn’s entry makes four possible candidates for two nominations. So far.
Dunn quite obviously is the only woman. Those on the right hate what they call “identity politics.” That could make for great debate in political science class, but the reality can not be ignored – women of late have been doing well in politics.
And in case anyone forgot, the two Democratic hopefuls in District 25 are women – Lisa Bhimani and Darcy Draeger.
Another interesting plank in Dunn’s resume is that she’s battle tested, so to speak.
As district director for just-retired Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, it was Dunn who at times met first hand the dozens of protesters who gathered each Friday outside the congressman’s Morristown office. This was a point Dunn mentioned during her freeholder campaign last year. Expect it to come up again.
As for Frelinghuysen, you wonder if he’ll emerge from his seeming self-imposed exile and publicly endorse his former staffer for a seat he held himself all those years ago.