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Assembly Candidate Aura Dunn
Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham). (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Dunn unopposed in bid for Assembly return

Republicans will fill vacant Bucco seat on Saturday

By David Wildstein, January 29 2020 4:26 pm

Former Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) faces no opposition for her return to the State Assembly in a special election convention scheduled for Saturday.

Historical records for Dunn’s complicated comeback will have multiple asterisks.

Dunn won 74% in a November 21 special election convention to fill the remaining seven weeks of Anthony M. Bucco’s term as the assemblyman for the 25th district.

Bucco (R-Boonton) resigned from the Assembly in October after winning his own special election convention for State Senate.  He replaced his father, Anthony R. Bucco, who died on September 16.

But Bucco remained in the race for re-election to the Assembly and won, despite having no intention to fill the seat.

When Bucco declined to take the oath of office when the Assembly reorganized on January 14 – he sent a letter that day to the Assembly Clerk saying he would not serve in the lower house — his seat was declared vacant and Republicans called a special election convention to fill the seat.

After a two-week absence, Dunn is expected to be sworn in on Monday when the Assembly holds a quorum call.

A desk on the Assembly floor has been held for her.  She will sit in the front row, between Assembly Minority Conference Leader Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) and newly-elected Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville).

Bergen was sworn in this month to replace Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township), who did not seek re-election to his 25th district seat after 24 years in the legislature.

Dunn’s magnitude of victory in the November special election convention – she won the votes of 133 of the 179 county committee members present – appears to have scared off potential opponents.

For Dunn, a former district director to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding), Saturday will be her fourth election in less than two years. She lost GOP primaries for freeholder in 2018 and for the State Assembly in 2019.

After that, Dunn will have two more races to go: a special primary election in June, and if she wins that, a special election for the Assembly seat in November.

Darcy Draeger, a farmer and former finance executive, is expected to the Democratic nominee for Assembly against Dunn.  She lost her bid for office last year to Bucco and Bergen.

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