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Former Chester Township Democratic Municipal Chair Darcy Draeger. Photo by Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe.

Duarte names her leadership slate in Morris County

DeLamater, Draeger, Thompson, Parmigiani top ticket of Democratic county chair candidate

By David Wildstein, April 28 2022 8:00 am

As she prepares to run in a special election for Morris County Democratic Chair next month Amalia Duarte has announced a diverse leadership team that includes a former top aide to Gov. Phil Murphy, former candidates, elected officials, municipal chairs, a one-time Republican councilman, and a high school student.

Mike DeLamater, Murphy’s former deputy chief of staff and campaign political director, will run for vice chairman on Duarte’s ticket, along with Darcy Draeger for secretary, Mike Thompson for treasurer and Cara Parmigiani for sergeant-at-arms.

Draeger, a former Chester Democratic municipal chair, ran for State Assembly in 2019 and 2020.  Thompson was the Democratic candidate for Morris County Surrogate in 2019, and Parmigiani  ran for freeholder in 2019.

Duarte said that Morristown Councilwoman Tawanna Cotton, Mount Olive Democratic Municipal Chairman Andy Meissner, Chatham Councilman Len Resto are her picks for executive board advisory team posts, along with Jason Navarino, a former law clerk to New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin, and Ava Lozner, a high school student from Mendham.  Resto was a Republican councilman before switching parties.

“This team is poised to help build successful campaigns across Morris County with its strong background in running for public office, community organizing and representing diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” said Duarte. “There has been a gap in the MCDC leadership regarding running for office and governing.  It’s hard to teach someone how to swim if you’ve never jumped into the water yourself.”

The election to replace Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson set for the week of May 9.  Robinson resigned on Friday and his entire executive board, including vice chair Robin Gurin, have also tendered their resignations.

Duarte was also endorsed by Dover Democratic Municipal Edward Correa, who applauded Robinson’s departure.

“While I am extremely proud to support Amalia Duarte as potentially the first female and Latino Chair of the Morris County Democratic Committee, after a very productive meeting with her yesterday, I am convinced that she is far more than just a good candidate on paper,” Correa said.  “To the contrary, Ms. Duarte has the vision, values, and skills to successfully lead the MCDC through this period of transition and beyond.”

Robinson refused to give Correa the organization line in his bid for re-election to the Dover Board of Aldermen, and dropped Correa’s aldermen and county committee allies from the line.

Instead, Duarte will stay out of the Dover primary.

Two other incumbents, Carlos Valencia and Jessica Cruz, also endorses Duarte.

“I appreciate the endorsement and unequivocal support,” Duarte said.  “I look forward to working with Dover to increase engagement with the Latino community across Morris County.”

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