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Chester Mayor Michael Inganamort and his family with Assemblywoman Aura Dunn in 2021. (Photo: Mike Inganamort).

For Morris GOP, filing deadline is 28 days away

Biggest contest is in the 24th district, where two GOP assemblymen are retiring

By David Wildstein, January 13 2023 1:46 pm

Morris County Republicans have set a filing deadline of February 10 at 4 PM for candidates interested in running on the organization line in the June primary election.

The GOP county convention is scheduled for March 4 at Morris County College in Randolph.

Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen faces a challenge from Anthony Somma, a Republican county committeeman from Randolph.  Paul DeGroot, a former assistant prosecutor who challenged Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in New Jersey’s 11th district last year, has been circulating nominating petitions.  DeGroot defeated Selen in the GOP congressional primary mounting an off-the-line campaign

The most significant contest could come in the 24th district, where two Republican assemblymen from Wantage, Parker Space and Hal Wirths, are not seeking re-election.

Eight Republicans are seeking to replace Space and Wirths: Lafayette Board of Education President Josh Aikens; Sussex County Commissioners Chris Carney and Dawn Fantasia; newcomer Enrico Fioranelli, a gym owner from Roxbury; Chester Mayor Michael Inganamort; attorney Rob Kovic; former Bogota Mayor and recent Sussex resident Steve Lonegan; Warren County Commissioner Jason Sarnoski.

Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Franklin) has no opposition for re-election his 24th district Senate seat and has not taken sides in the Assembly race.

“We have many quality candidates who are willing to pick up the mantle from Parker and Hal and be the same kind of fighters for our district,” said Oroho. “The voters will decide who will ultimately win the Republican nomination and I pledge to work with the winners and run a strong campaign for the general election.”

Under a new map drawn by the Legislative Apportionment Commission this year, 60% of the district is in Sussex, 35% in Morris and 5% in Warren.  Morris and Warren have organization lines.

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) is unopposed for his 26th district seat, but there is speculation that County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo might challenge him.  Mastrangelo lost the Morris GOP convention when he sought re-election in 2022, but scored an off-the-line win in the primary.

Also in the 26th district, former Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany), now the Dover business administrator, has said she plans to challenge Assemblymen Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Brian Bergen (R-Denville) in the primary.

It’s not clear if Mastrangelo, DeCroce or even DeGroot will compete at the March county Republican convention.

Oroho, Minority Whip Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton) and State Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) have no primary opposition so far.  Neither do Assemblywomen Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) and Assemblyman Christian Barranco (R-Jefferson) in the 25th and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) and Michele Matsikoudis (R-New Providence) in the 21st.

To compete at the convention, candidates for county commissioner must obtain signatures from ten percent of county committee members.  For the legislature, petitions must be signed by 20% of county committee members in the 21st, 25th,and  26th legislative districts, and ten signatures for candidates seeking to compete in the 24th district.   The 27th and 40th districts no longer includes parts of Morris County.

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