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Bucco’s latest challenge: parking

By David Wildstein, September 25 2019 8:54 pm

One thing both parties in New Jersey have in common: there’s always an issue to bitch gripe about.

Sometimes the complaints are not without validity.

Morris County Republicans have picked the Elks Lodge in Boonton as the site of an October 15 special election convention to pick a new State Senator in the 25th district, a venue that is already attracting criticism from some GOP leaders.

Boonton is the hometown of the late State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco, who died last week at age 81.  It’s also the political base of his son and likely successor, Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco.

Sources say that the Republicans picked the Elks Lodge based on price – that’s code for very cheap — but the facility has just thirteen parking spaces with an adjacent municipal parking lot with nineteen spaces.  Google maps shows limited on-street parking, some of it up and down steep Main Street.

To put it as delicately as possible, some Republican County Committee members have never met Ponce de León and haven’t experienced the Fountain of Youth.  It won’t be long before someone starts demanding a shuttle bus.

It’s also in the northeastern part of a largely East-West district, about an hour drive to Washington at the Southwest part of the district.

The remote location will also likely require Bucco to run a GOTV operation for his own special election in order to avoid the potential embarrassment of not achieving a quorum.

The last two special election conventions were held in central parts of the district.

When Assemblyman James Barry (R-Harding) resigned in 1982 to become state Consumer Affairs Director, New Jersey still had actual special elections for vacant seats in the Legislature.  Democrats picked their nominee at the old Neil’s New Yorker in Mountain Lakes and the Republicans held their vote at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany.

A 1995 special election to fill an open Assembly seat after Rodney Frelinghuysen was elected to Congress was also held at the Birchwood Manor.  Anthony R. Bucco won that race.

Whippany is no longer in the district.

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