Aura Dunn is moving forward in her bid for an open State Assembly bid in the 25th district, where Republican Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) is leaving after twelve terms to run for Morris County Surrogate.
A former district director for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Dunn ran for freeholder last year and lost the Republican primary. She got a late start – her announcement came on filing day – and she teamed up with an incumbent who lost by nearly 4,000 votes.
“I will fight the Progressive Socialist agenda of Governor Murphy and his Trenton followers,” said Dunn. “With a 24-year career in public policy, I am sick and tired of obstructionist politics and know what it will take to bring sanity back to the New Jersey Statehouse.”
This time, Dunn is starting early and telling her story as the daughter of a Purple Heart Marine who fought in Vietnam and raised by a single mother who worked as the only women construction apprentice on a job site.
“These challenges made me a protector, helper, hard worker and — Believer! A believer in the American Dream. Because never before have I seen that dream and the traditions and values that built this country and the hometowns we hold so dear, in such jeopardy, I am running for office,” Dunn said.
Dunn worked as a lobbyist for the Sesame Street Workshop and for U.S. Senator Arlen Specter before joining Frelinghuysen’s staff.
The Mendham resident is touting her community work as a planning board member, Parent Teacher Organization volunteer, and service as a board member of the Habitat for Humanity and Mental Health Addictions Services advisory board in Morris County.
Dunn is also laying out her positions on state issues as she seeks to hold a Republican seat that Democrats have not won since 1977.
“I will be relentless about bringing economic and fiscal security to our families. Increasing punitive taxes and legalizing drugs while we have an addictions epidemic will not bring us that security. Sanctuary states will not make our communities safer,” said Dunn. “Our neighbors are leaving in droves and we cannot afford to lose New Jersey’s most valuable asset — our families.”
Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton) is seeking re-election to a sixth term after a close call two years ago.
Bucco is the favorite to win renomination, but he can’t take a crowded field for granted.
Denville councilman Brian Bergen, a West Point graduate and Army helicopter pilot, entered the race for Carroll’s seat last year.
John Barbarula, a Randolph attorney who serves as a special assistant Morris County counsel, said last month that he was also running.
While the Morris County district, which also includes Bernardsville in Somerset, has been held by Republicans since 1979, Democrats have made major gains in recent years. Hillary Clinton won the 25th, albeit by just 18 votes, and Democratic congressional candidates combined for a 9,479-vote win on November 6.
There are 8,714 more Republicans in the 25th than Democrats. When the last legislative map was drawn in 2011, the GOP registration edge was almost double: 16,367.
Democrats are expected to make the 25th one of their statewide targets in their bid to expand their Assembly majority.
Morris County Democratic vice chair Lisa Bhimani and Chester Democratic municipal chair Darcy Draeger entered the race last November.
Bhimani held State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton) to a 52%-48% margin in 2017. She now taking aim at Bucco’s son
The 25th includes 21 municipalities in Morris and Somerset counties: Bernardsville, Boonton Borough and Boonton Township, Chester Borough and Chester Township, Denville, Dover, Mendham Borough and Mendham Township, Mine Hill, Morris Township, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Randolph, Rockaway, Roxbury, Victory Gardens, Washington, and Wharton.