One year after Republican lawmakers in the 25th district broke records for the greatest number of actual votes in a New Jersey legislative race, three incumbents have announced that they will seek re-election in 2021.
State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton), Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville) and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) say they have secured party backing to return to Trenton for another two years.
“Last fall’s election demonstrated that we can build a winning coalition when we hold the Trenton Democrats accountable for their tax-spend-borrow agenda, balanced with our bipartisan results for residents when its needed most,” said Bucco, who is running for the third consecutive year after winning a special election in 2020.
Bucco ran about 10,000 votes ahead of Donald Trump in his legislative district.
With a number of competitive districts on their plate, state Democrats are not expected to play in the 25th this fall.
Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, one of the county’s most popular local officials, endorsed Bucco, Bergen and Dunn for re-election.
“Tony, Brian and Aura are the right team working to keep New Jersey affordable, our communities safe, and delivering the resources necessary to fight the virus,” Gannon stated. “We are lucky to have them fighting on our behalf, and I’m proud to stand with them in the months ahead.”
Bucco was running for a sixth term in the Assembly in September 2019 when his father, State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton) unexpectedly died of a massive heart attack. Bucco moved up to the Senate the following month but remained in the Assembly race since the deadline to drop out had passed.
Dunn won special election conventions to replace Bucco in November 2019 and January 2020 and won the unexpired Assembly term in a November 2020 special election.
Bergen, who has emerged as a conservative leader in the legislature during his first term, is a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot and Denville councilman who won the open seat of retiring Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) in 2019.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve shown that good government works. We helped 2,000 struggling families resolve their unemployment issues, secured meals and PPE for long term care facilities, group homes and first responders in the scary early days of the pandemic, and continue to fight for our Main Street businesses,” Bucco said. “It’s imperative we have strong leadership that calls out the Administration’s countless failures and lack of accountability – from systemic Motor Vehicle failures, the tragic losses of loved ones in our nursing homes, to unemployment and a broken vaccine distribution system. I’m looking forward to putting our record once again before voters this fall.”
On issues relating to COVID-19, Bergen has been one of Gov. Phil Murphy’s fiercest critics.
“Two decades of Democrat control in Trenton have led to an affordability crisis in New Jersey, made worse by Governor Murphy’s unilateral and arbitrary decision making under the guise of the pandemic,” the freshman assemblyman said. “One person decision making has had disastrous implications for our businesses, for taxpayers, and even vaccine distribution prioritizing smokers over teachers.”
Dunn, who worked as a lobbyist for Sesame Street and as district director for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, has been a strong advocate of children and families during her fourteen months in the legislature.
“From mental health of our front-line workers, to student achievement and well-being, and funding relief efforts to defeat COVID, leaders have to be willing to work across the aisle to get things done,” said Dunn. “We need a new mindset in Trenton that ends the same playbook of raising taxes and instead –finally – begins to put taxpayers first.”
Dunn touted 21 measures she has co-sponsored that have been signed into law in one year.