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Mendham Township Committeewoman Amalia Duarte. (Photo: Amalia Duarte).

Duarte has no competition in race for Morris Democratic chair

Election to replace Robinson, others set for May 9

By David Wildstein, May 02 2022 8:04 pm

Amalia Duarte will run unopposed for Morris County Democratic Chair when county committee meets next Monday in Randolph to pick a replacement for Chip Robinson.

Party bylaws require candidates to file letters of intent to run fifteen days before the election – the same bylaws require ten days’ notice for elections – and Duarte and her leadership slate are the only candidates who filed.

Robinson announced his resignation on April 22, and within days, his entire executive board has resigned.  That included Vice Chair Robin Gurin, who insisted that she would not step down even after it was clear that she had no choice.

Democrats grew disenchanted with Robinson over his recruitment of a pro-life activist to run for county commissioner in 2021, and with his dropping of an incumbent, Dover Alderman/Democratic Municipal Chairman Edward Correa from the organization line.

Duarte, a second-term Mendham Township Committeewoman, will become the first woman and first Latina to serve as Morris County Democratic Chair.

Democrats haven’t won a countywide race in Morris County since 1973, although Joe Biden carried the county in 2020 —  the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

The three Democratic state committeewoman from Morris County – Shawn K. Laurenti, Kate Barry and Rupande Mehta – endorsed Duarte on Monday.

“The next several years will be challenging for our party.  Our leadership must be up to that challenge.  We must continue to recruit capable and principled candidates for elective office.  We must face each election cycle with a determination to serve the public ethically and with blunt honesty.  We need fearless leadership,” they said.  “We believe we have found that leadership in Amalia Duarte and her team.”

Barry is a poster child for the next generation of Morris Democrats – a millennial woman who grew up as the daughter of a Republican legislator.

Her father, James J. Barry, Jr. (R-Harding), was an enormously popular right-of-center Republican who was elected to the State Assembly four times – the first when he was 29 – and then spent eight years as state Consumer Affairs Director under Gov. Thomas Kean.

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