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Former Pompton Lakes Councilman Christian Barranco. (Photo: Christian Barranco.)

Barranco says he’ll run in GOP Assembly primary next year

IBEW Local 102 member will challenge Webber and DeCroce — or whomever represents Jefferson Township

By David Wildstein, November 02 2020 10:55 am

Christian Barranco, a former Pompton Lakes councilman and electrician with the politically influential IBEW Local 102, has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for State Assembly next year in whatever district his hometown of Jefferson is located.

Under the current map, Jefferson is in the 26th district, which could pit Barranco up against incumbents Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany).

“After 7 years of political action and public advocacy, I have decided to seek the nomination of our Republican Party in the 2021 Election for the NJ State Assembly,” Barranco said.

Barranco is the founder of the New Jersey Rough Riders and the “Square Deal for NJ” weblog.

“We have advocated very actively for policies and candidates that promote the fiscal conservatism, limited government and common sense measures that our state so desperately needs,” Barranco says.

It’s still not clear whether New Jersey will draw a new legislative map for 2021, or if redistricting will be put off until 2023.

New Jersey voters will decide on Tuesday if they approve a constitutional amendment to extend the current map for another two years if New Jersey’s 2020 Census numbers aren’t certified by February 15.

The 26th legislative district currently includes parts of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties.

A new map could put Jefferson, a Republican stronghold that sits at the western-most end of the 26th district, somewhere else.

That could put Barranco into a primary with 24th district Republican Assemblymen Parker Space (R-Wantage) and Hal Wirths (R-Wantage).  Jefferson is on the Sussex County border.

Jefferson could also wind up in the 25th, where Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville) is expected to seek a second term.  The second seat will be decided on November 3 in a special election contest between Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) and Democrat Darcy Draeger.

And there are circumstances that could put Barranco in primaries against GOP incumbents in the 39th or 40th district – both of which border the 26th.

Barranco explored a primary challenge against Webber and DeCroce in 2019, but withdrew after amid uncertainties about his residency.  He had just recently moved to Jefferson.

He is a political ally of Patrick Delle Cava, the Local 102 business manager and one of the state’s leading labor leaders on the Republican side.

Della Cava is part of a group that formed a super PAC last year to boost GOP State Chairman Doug Steinhardt as a gubernatorial candidate against Democrat Phil Murphy.

Barranco was a Republican candidate for Passaic County freeholder in 2013.  The New Jersey AFL-CIO endorsed him when he ran for councilman in 2016.  He resigned from the council in 2018 to move to Jefferson.

In 2017, Webber and DeCroce faced a fierce primary challenge from Morris County freeholders Hank Lyon and John Cesaro.  DeCroce defeated Lyon by 1,889 votes, with Cesaro finishing fourth.

“I look forward to reaching out to all Constituents and Party Committee members to share more closely the initiatives that I support and advocate for,” Barranco stated.  “I eagerly look forward to meeting you and to answer your questions about my candidacy and – most importantly – discussing how we, together, can work to create a more affordable and responsible New Jersey.”

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