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Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco. Photo by Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe.

Republicans seeking Bucco seat predict low turnout

By Nikita Biryukov, November 21 2019 6:40 pm

Candidates for State Sen. Tony Bucco’s Assembly seat are predicting low turnout at tonight’s Morris County GOP convention.

John Barbarula, the assistant Morris County counsel, is predicting a turnout of somewhere around 150 voters.

He said he’d be surprised if the number was much higher than that.

Mendham Deputy Mayor Sarah Neibart predicted a slightly-higher 160, and Aura Dunn, who was district director for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, said she thought 170 would show.

Acting Morris County Republican Chairwoman Laura Ali’s prediction most closely followed Dunn’s, which was based on RSVPs to Thursday’s convention.

Some attendees joked that the convention might not hit a quorum, and while that likely won’t be the case, it’ll be close. 

More than half of the committee’s members need to show for a quorum. That means 139 have to show up Thursday night. 

Five of the six candidates seeking Bucco’s seat — Neibart, Dunn, Barbarulo, Morristown Councilwoman Alison Deeb and former political consultant Al Ribeiro — have made it out to the convention so far.

Each of those candidates has laid out some type of literature on the convention’s chairs.

Dunn also brought water bottles labeled with her name.

Randolph attorney Robert Olejar  arrived last and has not brought out any literature.

If no candidate receives more than receives more than half the vote in the first round, the race will go to a runoff between the top two vote-getters.

Barbarula is predicting it’ll go that way. 

He said it was impossible that the night would end without a second round of voting, though it’s possible, however unlikely, that someone will win a majority from the get go.

With numbers this small, it’s all about who comes out.

Voting is set to begin at 7 p.m., and two of the four voting machines obtained for the convention have been opened so far.

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