Turnout ‘Surprisingly Strong’ in Republican Morris County

Pennacchio

The beauty of Election Day is that no one has any idea what’s happening, Sure, people are voting, but for whom? As much as political pros analyze the electorate, they are basically clueless until voting stops at 8 p.m.

So, small signs are important, or at least they seem to be.

One such sign is turnout. And as voting began in Morris County this morning, turnout was surprisingly strong.

“It almost seems like a presidential election,” is how one worker described the scene at a polling place in the Roxbury Township Library. Across town, a poll worker said the morning brought forth a “steady stream” of voters. This was also true elsewhere in the county.

State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, R-26th Dist., said that when he voted at 9 a.m. in Montville,  he was number 142. That, he said, was pretty good for three hours of voting. All of this is in contrast to predictions of an abysmally-low turnout today.

This may be a small sample, but it gives hope to Kim Guadagno’s chances of staging a dramatic come from behind win. Down by double-digits in every public poll, she needs a big win in a GOP stronghold like Morris to have any hope of victory later tonight.

Chris Christie carried the county by almost 50,000 votes four years ago and by close to 60,000 in 2009. Christie, of course, lives in Mendham Township. Guadagno probably is unlikely to win by those margins, but suffice to say,.she needs to do much better in Morris than Donald Trump did last year when he carried the county by a mere 11,000 votes.

As always, spirited local races bring out voters. And there are contested municipal races throughout the county, especially in such places as Montville, Morris Township and Parsippany, the county’s largest town. But this could be a double-edged sword for Republicans. Democrats over the years have won occasional township committee seats in Morris Township and Parsippany has been trending Democratic in presidential elections, although Republicans remain in total control locally.

One intriguing contest in Morris is Legislative District 25, which covers the central and western part of the county.

Both sides are running cable television advertisements, which is usually unheard off in a normally solid GOP district. The Republican incumbents are state Sen. Anthony R. Bucco, and Assemblymen Michael P. Carroll and Anthony M. Bucco, the senator’s son. The Democrats are Linda Bhimani for Senate and Richard Corcoran and Tom Moran for Assembly.

The Democrats’ ads tie the Republicans to Christie. The GOP shoots back that the Dems are big spenders. There’s no new ground here, but the sheer fact there are cable TV ads in this district is noteworthy.

If Democrats indeed make a strong showing in the district, it’s probably going to be awfully hard for Guadagno to come out of Morris with the winning margin she needs to make it a competitive race statewide.

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