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Morris Township Committeeman Jeff Grayzel

Grayzel will challenge Bucco for state senate seat

First Democratic mayor of Morris Township enters race for 25th district special election

By David Wildstein, January 12 2020 8:20 pm

Morris Township Committeeman Jeff Grayzel, the first Democrat to serve as mayor in the onetime GOP stronghold, will challenge Republican Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) for State Senate.

Bucco won a special election convention for the 25th district Senate seat last October to replace his late father, Anthony R. Bucco.  Bucco died in September at age 82 after serving nearly 25 years in the legislature.

Jeff Grayzel will face Rupande Mehta and Clifford Dawkins,

Grayzel, currently the deputy mayor, is the third Democrat to express interest in the Senate seat and will face Rupande Mehta and Clifford Dawkins at the Morris County Democratic convention — likely to be held in March.  

The winner of the special election will replace the remaining fourteen months of Bucco’s term. 

“I’m running because we need leaders who prioritize solutions over petty politics and have a singular focus on problem-solving in Trenton,” said Grayzel. “I look forward to working together to improve our community. “

Grayzel just completed a stint as mayor, and is now serving his third term on the township committee after scoring a landslide 16-point victory in 2018.  He won praise locally for keeping his municipal tax rate flat amidst surging commercial occupancy rates.

“I am an experienced and effective leader who advances solutions to our most urgent issues by bringing all constituencies together to buy into win-win results,” Grayzel said.  “I have taken this approach throughout my career in both politics and the private sector.”

He is the only candidate in the race who has won elective office —  and in a one time Republican stronghold.  Mehta lost races for Denville council in 2017 and Morris County freeholder in 2018 and Dawkins unsuccessfully sought a Rockaway Borough council seat last year.

GOP influence in the 25th district

The last Democratic senator from the 25th was Gordon MacInnes, also a Morris Township resident and former officeholder who ousted Senate Majority Leader John Dorsey in 1993.

Last November, Bucco remained in the race for the State Assembly seat he held for nearly ten years and was re-elected by 3,057 votes. 

Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) replaced Bucco in the Assembly.  Her term is due to expire on Tuesday and she is viewed as the frontrunner to win another special election next month.   The Assembly seat will also be on the ballot in November.

Democrats widely expect Darcy Draeger, a Chester Township farmer and former financial services executive, to run for the Assembly.  Draeger lost to Bucco and Assemblyman-elect Brian Bergen (R-Denville) last year.

The 25th district has 7,366 more Republicans than Democrats.  When the district was drawn after the 2010 Census, the GOP registration edge was 15,935 

Hillary Clinton won the 25th, albeit by just 18 votes, and Democratic congressional candidates combined for a 9,479-vote win on November 6.

Grayzel enjoyed a long career at Bristol-Myers Squibb and now serves as president of a private medical device development firm. He received degrees in economics and operations research from Cornell University and a master’s in industrial engineering from Columbia University.

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One thought on “Grayzel will challenge Bucco for state senate seat

  1. Darcy Draeger and Lisa Bhimani need to go away. These two light weights are not electable in Morris County and I say this as a registered “D”.

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