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New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) with 25th district Assembly candidates Lisa Bhimani, right, and Darcy Draeger

Democrats have huge fundraising edge for open Assembly seat in 25th

GOP candidates for open seat have relatively same cash-on-hand heading into final week; Bucco warchest is comortable

By David Wildstein, May 31 2019 1:12 pm

Three Republicans seeking the open seat of Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township) went into the final stretch of the primary election with relatively even warchests, according to 11-day pre-primary reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Denville councilman Brian Bergen, former Rodney Frelinghuysen district director Aura Dunn, and special assistant Morris County Counsel John Barbarula are facing off in the June 4 Republican primary to replace Carroll, a 24-year legislator who is running for Morris County Surrogate.

Bergen reported raising $55,707 and has $15,617 cash-on hand.

Dunn raised $30,471 and has $14,991 in the bank. Dunn’s largest donors in the most recent cycle were Mendham Township Deputy Mayor Sarah Neibart and Kathy Hugin, the wife of former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin; each contributed $2,600.

Barbarula has raised $20,956 with $11,077 still in his campaign account.

These numbers reflect where the primary campaign spending was last week and does not include expenditures or fundraising after Memorial Day weekend.

Incumbent Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) is heavily favored to win one of the two seats in the GOP primary.

Bucco, the number two man in the Assembly Republican leadership, has raised $385,943 but has burned through a lot of his money.  He spent $245,760 and has $140,183 cash-on-hand.

The 25th district is viewed as a battleground race in the 2019 mid-term elections.

While the Morris County district, which also includes Bernardsville in Somerset, has been held by Republicans since 1979, Democrats have made major gains in recent years.  Hillary Clinton won the 25th, albeit by just 18 votes, and Democratic congressional candidates combined for a 9,479-vote win last year.

Democrats are running Lisa Bhimani, a physician who held State Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton) to a 52%-48% win two years ago in a district that has 8,278 more Republicans than Democrats, along with Chester Democratic municipal chair Darcy Draeger.

Bhimani and Draeger have raised a massive $131,280 while running unopposed in the Democratic primary.  They have spent $37,704 and have $93,576 cash-on-hand.

The 25th includes 21 municipalities in Morris and Somerset counties: Bernardsville, Boonton Borough and Boonton Township, Chester Borough and Chester Township, Denville, Dover, Mendham Borough and Mendham Township, Mine Hill, Morris Township, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Randolph, Rockaway, Roxbury, Victory Gardens, Washington, and Wharton.

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