Republicans will need to hold two separate special election conventions to replace Anthony R. Bucco (R-Boonton) in the New Jersey State Assembly and the expectation is that his successor will need to run in four elections over the next year.
The first one, called for November 21, will fill the current 25th district vacancy that occurred on October 24 when he resigned from the Assembly to take his late father’s State Senate seat.
The winner of that race will fill the remaining seven weeks of Bucco’s term, which expires on January 13, 2020.
The Assembly has a voting session scheduled for November 25, when Bucco’s replacement would presumably be sworn in.
A second special election convention will be held to fill the seat that Bucco won last week. Since he has already moved up to the Senate, Bucco will create a vacancy by declining to be sworn in to the 120th Legislature.
The window to fill that vacancy begins on January 21 and ends on February 24.
The winner of the short-term vacancy would be favored to remain in the Assembly, although there is no legal or political requirement that the same person win both conventions – just that there will need to be two separate votes.
Both parties will hold a special primary election next June to choose nominees for the State Senate – Bucco is widely expected to run in that – and the Assembly seat Bucco just won.
After that comes a November 2020 special election to fill the remainder of the late Anthony R. Bucco’s term in the State Senate and Anthony M. Bucco’s term in the Assembly.
Morris County Republicans will need to hold another special election convention next year, after Heather Darling resigns from the Board of Freeholders to become the new Morris County Surrogate.
The window to fill Darling’s freeholder seat goes from January 7 to February 7.
There is no legal requirement to fill the Assembly and Freeholder vacancies on the same date, or even in the same place, although holding them at the same time will spare the Morris GOP organization the money and effort of organizing separate conventions.
The Morris County Republican Committee is not exactly a youth movement. Driving at night in the winter could be challenging – and effect turnout models for the candidates.
The 25th district could possibly have as many as eight legislators in fourteen months, although it may not grow that high: Bucco and Bucco; Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township), whose retirement from the Assembly after 24 years takes place on January 13; Assemblyman-elect Brian Bergen (R-Denville), who will be sworn in to the Carroll seat on January 14; the winner of the November 21 special election convention to fill the remainder of the term Bucco won in 2017; the winner of the winter special election convention to fill the seat Bucco won last week; and the winners of the November special elections for Senate and Assembly seats, who would take office upon certification of the election.
For extreme political junkies: following the resignation of Assemblyman James Barry (R-Harding) from his 25th district Assembly seat to become state Consumer Affairs Director in 1982, Rockaway Township Mayor Jim Bishop won a special election to replace him. The following year, then-Freeholder Rodney Frelinghuysen defeated Bishop in the GOP primary.