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Thomas "T.C." McCourt. (Photo: T.C. McCourt.)

Morris Democrats pick county commissioner candidates

Republicans in Morris haven’t lost in 49 years

By David Wildstein, March 27 2022 9:39 pm

Morris County Democrats have picked T.C. McCourt, Alice Sharma and Judy Hernandez to run for county commissioner on the organization line.

Democrats have not won a countywide office in Morris since Douglas Romaine was elected freeholder in the 1973 Watergate wave election.

Two incumbent House members who represent parts of Morris County, Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the 7th and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in the 11th, also received endorsements of the Morris County Democratic Committee.

McCourt, a Dover Planning Board member, is making his second bid for county commissioner.  He ran in 2021 and finished 26,950 votes behind GOP incumbent Stephen Shaw.

Sharma serves on the Mount Olive Library Board of Trustees.  Hernandez ran unsuccessfully for the Parsippany Township Council in 2019 and 2021

Nine-term incumbent Douglas Cabana is heading the Republican organization line for county commissioner on a slate with former Freeholder Christine Myers and Mendham Township Commissioner Sarah Neibart.

Incumbent Tom Mastrangelo, who lost the Morris GOP convention earlier this month, has not said if he will run off the line in the June 7 primary.

The filing deadline is April 4.

Cabana was finished first with 390 votes, followed by Myers (386) and Neibart (336). Mastrangelo finished fourth with 261 votes, and Pequannock Mayor Melissa Florance-Lynch received 233 votes.

Mastrangelo and Florance-Lynch had been on a slate with Cabana.  After her convention loss, Florance-Lynch has decided to seek re-election to her Pequannock council seat.

On Election Night 2020, with Joe Biden carrying Morris County – he was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the Republican county since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 – it appeared as though Democrats might score an upset in the freeholder race.

Cary Amaro led incumbent Tayfun Selen that night and for a couple of days after that, but as vote-by-mail ballots were counted, Selen wound up winning the election by 12,758 votes, 52%-48%.

Romaine, the 30-year-old Democratic winner almost 49 years ago, won one of the three Morris freeholder seats up that year.  Republicans Dean Gallo, the Parsippany Council President and Peter Burkhardt, an appointed incumbent and former Montville mayor,  finished first and second, respectively, and Romaine ran about 600 votes ahead of Freeholder James Plante.

Democrat Brendan Byrne carried Morris County that year, and Democrats won one State Senate seat and three Assembly seats.

Romaine lost re-election in 197 by around 17,000 votes.

Plante remains the last Republican to lose a countywide race in Morris.

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