Home>Campaigns>Ann Stone, a former Warren County freeholder and a Democrat, dies at 84

Former Warren County Freeholder Ann M. Stone. (Photo: Ruppell Funeral Home).

Ann Stone, a former Warren County freeholder and a Democrat, dies at 84

Daughter of a GOP county chairman switched parties in 1987

By David Wildstein, April 11 2023 12:12 pm

Ann M. Stone, a former Warren County commissioner and Greenwich mayor who won three countywide elections as a Democrat, died on April 8.  She was 84

Along with James DeBosh, Stone was part of the last Democratic majority on the Warren County Board of Freeholders when her party had two of the three seats in 2000.

Stone became involved in politics at a young age; her father, Harry Snyder, served as Warren County GOP chairman and county clerk.

She began her political career in 1970 when she won a seat on the Greenwich Township Board of Education.  She was re-elected in 1973, 1976, and 1979 and spent six years as the school board president.

Stone was elected to the Greenwich Township Committee in 1981 as a Republican.  She defeated Democrat James Pacenti with 72% of the vote.  She became Greenwich’s first woman mayor and was re-elected in 1984.

In 1986, Stone, then the Republican mayor, endorsed Democrat John Polhemus for freeholder after her preferred candidate in the general election, Rosemarie Albanese, lost the GOP primary to White Township Committeeman Harold Reeves.  Polhemus defeated Reeves by seventeen percentage points.

The endorsement of Polhemus led to a split between Stone and top Warren GOP leaders, including Assembly Majority Leader Chuck Haytaian (R-Hackettstown) and GOP County Chairman Frank DeLello.

Stone switched parties in 1987 and became the Democratic candidate for freeholder against GOP incumbent Kenneth Miller.  She came within 178 votes of winning the general election.  Still, Stone was re-elected to the township committee, this time as a Democrat.

Running for freeholder again in 1988, Stone defeated Anthony Fowler, the Republican incumbent, with 56% of the vote.  She did that even as George H.W. Bush carried Warren County in the presidential election with 64.5% of the vote.

In the 1991 Republican wave election that followed Gov. Jim Florio’s $2.8 billion tax increase, Jake Matthenius defeated Stone with 58% of the vote.  Matthenius was a political newcomer who had headed the state’s beekeeping industry during his 42 years at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

After the election, Florio hired Stone in the governor’s Office of Constituent Relations.

In 1994, Stone sought a rematch with Matthenius and ousted him by about 1,000 votes, 52%-48%.   Haytaian, then the Assembly Speaker, carried Warren County with 62% in his U.S. Senate race against Frank Lautenberg that year.

Seeking re-election in 1997, Stone faced Hackettstown Mayor John DiMaio, now the Assembly Minority Leader.  She won by seven points, 49%-42%, with independent John Celentano receiving 8%.

As a candidate for re-election in 2000, Stone faced a challenge from a young West Point graduate and attorney, Michael Doherty.   Doherty came within 221 votes of unseating Assemblywoman Connie Myers (R-Milford) in the Republican primary in 1999.

Doherty ousted Stone by 4,217 votes, 51%-40%, with Celentano (6%) and Thomas “Reggie” Regrut (3%) running as independents.

Stone made one last run for office in 2004, challenging DiMaio, who had joined the freeholder board in late 2000.  DiMaio defeated her by 4,000 votes, 43%-45%.

Over the years, Stone served on the Warren County Tax Board and Board of Elections.
Predeceased by her husband, Dale, Stone is survived by her four daughters, fifteen grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

A visitation will be held on April 14 at the Stewartsville Presbyterian Church from 10-11 AM, followed by an 11 AM funeral service.

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