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Passaic County Republican Chairman Peter Murphy

Passaic GOP chairman backs incumbents in 26th district

Peter Murphy closes door on potential challengers to Pennacchio, Webber and Bergen

By David Wildstein, November 16 2022 12:31 pm

Passaic County Republican Chairman Peter Murphy has endorsed State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) and Assemblymen Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Brian Bergen (R-Denville) for re-election in the 26th district, creating an obstacle for any challenger in next year’s Republican primary.

“Joe, Jay, and Brian share our Passaic County Republican values:  they protect middle class taxpayers, defend our cops, and stand up for our kids’ education,” Murphy said.  “They are great leaders for Passaic County – I endorse their entire team for re-election and urge my fellow Republicans in Passaic County to do the same.”

The Passaic portion of the 26th makes up roughly 20% of the district.

Former Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) entered the race to regain her old seat earlier this year.  She lost the 2021 GOP primary to Webber and Assemblyman Christian Barranco (R-Jefferson), but legislative redistricting switched Bergen into the 26th and Barranco into the 25th.

Barranco had beaten DeCroce by nine votes at the Morris County Republican convention.  DeCroce, who ran alone on the Passaic County GOP organization line last year, finished 118 votes ahead of Barranco in the primary in the Passaic part of the old district.

“Chairman Murphy does it right in Passaic County, and I do my very best to represent him well,” Pennacchio said. “With the Chairman’s help, I’ll continue to fight for our Passaic County towns whenever and wherever I can.”

There has been speculation that Morris County Commissioner Thomas Mastrangelo, who won an off-the-line re-election bid after losing party support, might challenge Pennacchio for the Senate.  He finished fourth in the 2021 GOP Assembly primary.

Webber, who grew up in Passaic County, said that Murphy’s endorsement “means a great deal  to me.”

“With the Chairman’s support, I will keep my focus on the values and virtues I learned growing up in Passaic County:  respect for hard work, reverence for our country, and honest service to others,” stated Webber.

Bergen said he was “deeply grateful for Chairman Murphy’s support and look forward to bringing a victory home for him and the entire Passaic County Organization.”

“I will work tirelessly to elect Republicans up and down the ticket next year, and no one will outwork our team,” he said.

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