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Morris County Commissioner Deborah Smith. (Photo: Morris County Board of Commissioners).

Smith could seek Assembly seat

Morris Freeholder doesn’t rule out bid to succeed Carroll

By David Wildstein, November 13 2018 2:34 pm

Morris County freeholder Deborah Smith, the top vote-getter in her re-election bid last week, has not ruled out seeking the Republican nomination for State Assembly in the 25th district next year.

Twelve-term incumbent Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) said earlier this year that he would not seek re-election in 2019.  He is expected to seek the GOP nod for Morris County Surrogate instead.

Denville councilman Brian Bergen is the only announced candidate for Carroll’s seat, although other candidates are expected to run.

Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) is seeking his sixth term and must still win the GOP primary in a county where there is no organization line.

Democrats are expected to make the 25th one of top targets next year.  Lisa Bhimani, a physician who won 48% against State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton) last year, is running for the Assembly.

Smith was also the top vote-getter in the Republican primary, running nearly 6,000 votes ahead of incumbent John Cesaro and almost 8,000 votes ahead of challenger Aura Dunn.

A former Denville councilwoman, Smith was also the top vote-getter in the 2015 GOP freeholder primary.

The 25th  has not sent a woman to the Legislature since Rosemarie Totaro lost in 1979.  Back in 1972, when the Assembly had just three women, two came from Morris County.

Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the name of the last assemblywoman from the 25th district.

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