Home>Campaigns>LD26 incumbents well ahead in fundraising

Assemblyman Jay Webber, left, State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, center, and Assemblyman Brian Bergen. (Photo: Pennacchio, Webber & Bergen Campaign).

LD26 incumbents well ahead in fundraising

Off-the-line candidates relying heavily on self-funding

By Joey Fox, May 16 2023 1:57 pm

Facing a challenge from several current and former officeholders, the slate of incumbent Republican lawmakers in the 26th legislative district has a huge financial edge ahead of the June 6 GOP primary.

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville) has a whopping $294,462 in his campaign account, making him the best-funded Republican legislative candidate in the state. That’s despite him spending $267,929 over the course of the first four months of 2023.

His opponent, Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo (R-Montville), has a comparatively minuscule $18,800 on-hand after raising a little over $80,000 and spending most of it. As is a theme on Mastrangelo’s slate, a substantial chunk of his money came from his own pockets. 

Pennacchio’s running mates, Assemblymen Brian Bergen (R-Denville) and Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains), are also in strong shape. Webber has $140,730 in the bank and Bergen has $49,485; they also have $31,696 sitting in a joint committee that they share with Pennacchio.

Their main opponent, former Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany), raised a solid $61,257, around half of which came from a personal loan – but she spent nearly all of it, ending the fundraising period with just $4,723 left. Her running mate, former Parsippany Councilman Robert Peluso, barely seems to be running a real operation at all, raising $7,100 (most of it self-funded) and ending with $2,054 on-hand.

Mastrangelo’s slate is also associated with Paul DeGroot, who is running off-the-line for county commissioner against incumbent Tayfun Selen (R-Chatham). Thanks to an almost entirely self-funded campaign, DeGroot is running even with Selen in the money race; both raised around $50,000 in 2023, although DeGroot spent more, and he ended the period with $16,748 on-hand to Selen’s $35,191.

With DeGroot on the ticket, Team Mastrangelo was able to snag the top position on Morris primary ballots. But with little institutional support or money behind them, they’re still in for a tough fight against the official Morris Republican team.

Spread the news: