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

Morris Democrats pick slate for county commissioner

By David Wildstein, April 02 2021 10:17 am

Morris County Democrats appear ready to select T.C. McCourt, A.J. Oliver and Dina Mikulka to run for county commissioner when they meet to award their organization line at a convention on Saturday.

McCourt is a Dover Planning Board member and co-founder of the county Democratic Party’s LGBTQ+ Caucus.

While McCourt entered the race in January, Oliver and Mikulka didn’t announce their commissioner bids until this week.

An Episcopal priest, Oliver has served in the U.S. Army for seventeen years and is a New Jersey Army National Guard captain.  He served on the Morristown Environmental Commission and the Shade Tree Commission.

“I intend to increase the visibility and accessibility of the Morris County government to its residents,” said Oliver.  Many people don’t know what a Commissioner is and does, and we need to have an education campaign about how the county government serves them.”

Mikulka is a former Mine Hill school board member who worked as a deputy state attorney general and as a parole officer.

“My focus will be on achieving a fair and fiscally balanced approach to the administration of county government,” Mikulka said. “For too long, the Commissioner Board has ignored some serious issues facing our county residents, and it’s time to address them.  I firmly believe these issues can be addressed without putting any additional financial burdens on our residents.”

The three will challenge three Republican incumbents: Deborah Smith, Stephen Shaw and John Krickus.

Republicans are defending a 48-year winning streak; Democrats haven’t won a countywide election since 1973, when Douglas Romaine was elected freeholder in the Watergate Democratic wave that year.  Even in 1974, following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, Morris Republicans were able to win freeholder races. (Among the winners that year was 27-year-old Rodney Frelinghuysen.)

On election night 2020 and for several days after, Democrat Cary Amaro held a lead in a race for one freeholder seat against Republican incumbent Tayfun Selen.  As more vote-by-mail ballots were counted, Selen eventually pulled ahead and won the race by a comfortable 12,778 votes, 52%-48%.

Still, Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in Morris County by 12,747 votes, 51%-47%, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the county since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker won Morris by 4,4775 votes, 50%-49%.

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