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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

46 years after Biden, Murphy to headline Morris Dem fundraiser

Biden’s 1973 appearance was the former vice president’s first big political visit to New Jersey

By David Wildstein, August 26 2019 1:39 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy will help Morris County Democrats boost their campaign coffers as the headliner for their fall fundraising gala on October 2.

At the top of the Democratic target list for the November mid-term elections are two State Assembly seats in the 25th district.

Murphy’s appearance at the Morris Democratic fundraising gala comes two days short of 46 years since 31-year-old U.S. Senator Joseph Biden was the star attraction for the same dinner on October 4, 1973.

The event, also held in Mountain Lakes, was $20-per-person when Biden appeared on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Brendan Byrne.  Now Democrats are asking $125-per-person to hear Murphy.

Democrats have not won an Assembly race in Morris County since 1977, when former Assemblywoman Rosemarie Totaro (D-Denville) beat Republican Joseph Maraziti (R-Boonton), a former one-term Congressman, State Senator and Assemblyman, for an open seat.

Murphy won 47% of the vote in the th two years ago against Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Assembly Minority Conference Leader Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) is seeking re-election to a fifth term in a district that has become increasingly more Democratic.  Republicans nominated Denville Councilman Brian Bergen to run with Bucco following the retirement of 12-term incumbent Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township).

The 25th still leans GOP, but it’s become increasingly more competitive: there are 8,132 more Republicans than Democrats.  When the district was drawn in 2011, the Republican edge was 15,935.

Two years ago, Democrat Lisa Bhimani almost upset State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco, losing by just 2,528 votes, a 52%-48% margin.

Now Bhimani is taking on Bucco’s son, five-term Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, who re-election in 2017 by a scant 2,430 votes.

Bhimani is running with Chester Democratic Municipal Chairman Darcy Draeger.

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