Senate Assistant Minority Leader Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) and Assemblymen Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Brian Bergen (R-Denville) have secured support from more than 80% of Republican county committee members from Morris County as they prepare to seek re-election in the 26th district.
The massive show of force by Pennacchio, Webber and Bergen makes them overwhelming favorites to win the Morris County GOP convention when the party meets in March to award their organization line.
That could cause former Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) to reconsider her planned primary against Webber and Bergen, and impact whether Morris County Commissioner Thomas Mastrangelo decides to challenge Pennacchio.
DeCroce was recently named the interim business administrator in Dover. She succeeds former Senate President and 84-hour acting Governor John O. Bennett III, who left the post in September after a two-year stint.
The endorsements of the conservative Republican lawmakers include 100% of all county committee in Denville, East Hanover, Hanover, Morris Plains and Lincoln Park. In Parsippany, the largest municipality in the 26th district and DeCroce’s hometown, 70% of the county committee signed nominating petitions for Pennacchio, Webber and Bergen.
“We are a great team who works well together in Trenton and in the district,” Pennacchio said. “Jay, Brian and I represent the type of bold leadership that our party needs right now. To have over 80% of the Republican Morris County Republican Committee endorse our reelection is a validation of the hard work and effort that we have done in our district. It is also an expectation that those efforts are to be continued.”
Mastrangelo lost the Republican convention earlier this year but scored an upset off-the-line victory in the June primary.
Legislative redistricting earlier this year swapped Bergen and Assemblyman Christian Barranco (R-Jefferson) between the 25th and 26th districts.
“Our Legislative District is a tremendous place to represent, and we’re grateful for the overwhelming support the county committee members have shown us already,” said Webber. “I look forward to working with the county committee and our team to secure victories top to bottom next November.”
Bergen said he was excited to be running with Pennacchio and Webber.
“With our hard work and strong support, we are the right team at the right time to get the job done,” he said. “I look forward to working across the district and the state to secure Republican victories in 2023.”