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Assemblyman Parker Space, Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia, and Chester Township Mayor Mike Inganamort. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Space slate wins Morris GOP line

Space, Inganamort, Fantasia crush opponents, but only seven Morris towns are in their district

By Joey Fox, March 04 2023 1:19 pm

Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Wantage), Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia (R-Franklin), and Chester Township Mayor Mike Inganamort have won the Morris County Republican organizational line in the 24th legislative district, giving the allied trio an early leg up in the fight to represent one of New Jersey’s most conservative areas.

Space defeated former Bogota mayor (and current Newton resident) Steve Lonegan for the district’s Senate seat, which is currently held by retiring Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Franklin). Space got 80 votes, or 85%, to Lonegan’s 14, or 15%.

Fantasia and Inganamort, meanwhile, beat Lafayette Board of Education President Josh Aikens and Warren County Commissioner Jason Sarnoski (R-Independence). Inganamort, the one Morris resident in the race, finished first with 78 votes (41%), followed by Fantasia with 69 (37%); Sarnoski got 25 (13%), and Aikens got 17 (9%). (Two other Assembly candidates, Enrico Fioranelli and Rob Kovic, did not compete for the line.)

“We’re thrilled with the result,” Inganamort said on behalf of the slate. “We worked hard for this victory, and met with individual county committeemembers in their family rooms and on their front porches. Parker, Dawn, and I put in an equal amount of work in this county. We’re so privileged with the win, and we’re going to be back.”

The decision by Morris Republicans to support the Space-Fantasia-Inganamort team is only the opening salvo in a heated primary campaign, however.

The 24th district is primarily based in Sussex County, where most of its candidates are from, and Sussex Republicans don’t have a county line. That means that in the majority of the 24th district, Lonegan and Space will be running on even footing.

Campaigning between the two has already gotten intense; Space has hit Lonegan for his seven prior election losses and his recent Bergen County residence, while Lonegan has focused on Space’s legislative record in Trenton as well as his Confederate flag tattoo.

Lonegan, Aikens, and Sarnoski also took issue with the Morris convention itself, arguing that the convention rules were untransparent and did not sufficiently guarantee election transparency, a theme Lonegan repeated after the convention was over.

“The Morris County party failed President Trump, the Republican National Committee, the NJGOP, and every American fighting for election integrity,” Lonegan said in a statement. “Republican primary voters are crying out for leaders who will stand up and fight for clean, transparent elections. I was proud to do that today and I’ll continue doing it.”

This story was updated at 3:09 p.m. with a statement from Lonegan.

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