Aura Dunn has announced her candidacy for the 25th district State Assembly seat that Anthony M. Bucco vacated in October to replace his late father in the Senate.
Republicans will hold a special election convention on November 21 to fill Bucco’s Assembly seat, which expires in January.
Another election will determine who will replace Bucco in the next legislative session, since he will not be accepting the post he won re-election to on Tuesday.
Dunn, the former district director for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, ran in the June Republican primary for the open seat of Michael Patrick Carroll. Carroll is leaving the legislature after 24 years. She finished 1,418 votes behind Denville Councilman Brian Bergen, who was elected to the Assembly on Tuesday.
“The strength and poise demonstrated by newly appointed Senator Anthony M. Bucco throughout this tough campaign season reaffirms to the citizens of District 25 that they will be served and protected by a compassionate and adept leader,” Dunn said. “Hence, the special convention presents a bittersweet occasion for us.”
The Republican replacement for Bucco’s seat will face the voters in a November 2020 special election.
“We now encounter challenges like never before in all races, from the municipal level and up,” Dunn said. “The registration gap between Democrats and Republicans continues to narrow as large sums of money from outside sources help to disproportionately finance Democratic campaigns. Quite simply, gone are the days of the GOP dominance on Morris and Somerset counties.”
It is not immediately clear whether Republicans will seek to fill both the current vacancy and the prospective one at the same time. The vacancy will not occur until Bucco declines the post at the January legislative reorganization.
Dunn begins the race with endorsements of Republican mayors in Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, Chester Borough, Chester Township, Washington Township and Bernardsville.
She also has the backing of the Operating Engineers and IBEW, and Assemblywomen Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit).
Assistant Morris County Counsel John Barbarula, who finished 144 votes behind Dunn in the June primary, is also expected to run.
Republican leaders have set a a filing deadline of November 14.Aura Dunn Letter to Chairs