Home>Campaigns>Barranco raised $75k last night, with minority leader candidates courting leadership vote

Assemblyman Christian Barranco. (Photo: Christian Barranco).

Barranco raised $75k last night, with minority leader candidates courting leadership vote

After ousting five-term incumbent in GOP primary, Barranco is a safe bet to win 26th district Assembly seat

By David Wildstein, September 29 2021 11:52 am

At least three of the candidates for Assembly Minority Leader didn’t watch the gubernatorial debate in real time last night, instead spending the evening in Morris County in search one vote in their race for the top GOP leadership post.

A fundraiser on Tuesday evening for Assembly candidate Christian Barranco brought in an impressive $75,000 in a race that he likely won in June when he defeated five-term incumbent BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) in the Republican primary.

In a heavily Republican district – the 26th hasn’t elected a Democratic assemblyman in 48 years – Barranco is the heavy favorite to win the November 2 general election.  That’s why three minority leader candidates — John DiMaio (R-Hackettstown), Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) and Ned Thomson (R-Wall) – went to pay homage to Barranco, who is an uncommitted vote in the upcoming leadership election.

For now, Barranco is not making any commitments.

“I’m focused on November 2,” he told the New Jersey Globe.  “Until then I have no vote.”

A fourth candidate, Morris County favorite son Brian Bergen (R-Denville), was not there.  But he called Barranco ahead of time to let him know he had a family commitment that conflicted with his event.  Bergen backed Barranco in the GOP primary.

“Brian Bergen has been supportive from the start,” he said.

The minority leader candidates have been making the rounds to events hosted by their Assembly colleagues, but other than Bergen’s decision to enter the race this month, there hasn’t been much movement in the vote tallies.  Nobody has enough commitments to claim victory.

The Assembly leadership contest started earlier this year when Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election to the legislature in 2021 – he is seeking a rematch with Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) the New Jersey’s 7th district in 2022.  That led Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield), the minority leader of the State Assembly, to seek Kean’s Senate seat.

Barranco, a former Pompton Lakes councilman, ousted DeCroce by 551 votes in the primary.  That followed his upset 9-vote victory over the incumbent at the Morris County Republican convention to secure the organization line.

Among the attendees at the Barranco fundraiser was Ocean County Democratic Chairman Wyatt Earp.  Earp is the president of the Monmouth and Ocean Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and a leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 43. Barranco is a working electrician and IBEW Local 102 member.

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