Morris County Freeholder John Cesaro was defeated for re-election tonight, losing the Republican primary to a slate headed by another incumbent, Deborah Smith.
Smith was the top vote-getter with 18,770, and won the GOP nomination along with her two running mates: former Mountain Lakes mayor Stephen Shaw (16,503) and former freeholder John Krickus (16,503). Cesaro finished fourth with 12,953 votes. Aura Dunn, a top aide to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, finished last with 10,794 votes.
Smith, Shaw and Krickus will face Democrats Mary Dougherty, Rupande Mehta and Richard Corcoran in the general election. The three easily outdistanced their lone primary opponent, Vanessa Brown.
Democrats have not won a freeholder race in Morris County since 1973.
Embattled County Clerk Ann Grossi ran unopposed in the GOP primary. She will face Shala Gagliardi, an attorney from Chatham who is seeking to become the first Democrat to hold the post since before the Civil War.