Former Pompton Lakes councilman Christian Barranco has decided not to seek the Republican nomination for State Assembly in the 26th district, clearing a path for incumbents Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) to avoid a primary fight this year.
An electrician with IBEW Local 102, 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 last year to move to Jefferson.
Barranco said he did not want to face a fight over residency requirements to run for the legislature in his new district.
“I refuse to break the law,” Barranco told the New Jersey Globe. “I’m stepping aside and I’ll come back in two years.”
In the meantime, Barranco will devote much of his time to the North Jersey Rough Riders, a group he formed five years ago to create a stronger relationship between Republicans and private sector trade unions.
The Rough Riders will hold a fundraiser on Wednesday to boost Morris County Sheriff Jim Gannon’s re-election campaign.
In 2017, Webber and DeCroce faced a fierce primary challenge from Morris County freeholders Hank Lyon and John Cesaro. She defeated Lyon by 1,889 votes, with Cesaro finishing fourth.
Lyon gave up his freeholder seat to run for Assembly, and Cesaro lost the GOP primary for re-election to the Board of Freeholders last year
Verona Democratic municipal chair Laura Berman Fortgang and Jefferson Democratic municipal chair Christine Clarke have already filed to run in the 26th district.