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The Morris County Courthouse in Morristown, New Jersey.

Morris special election convention set for February 1

GOP will fill freeholder seat vacated by Heather Darling

By David Wildstein, January 07 2020 11:00 am

Morris County Republicans will hold a special election convention to fill a vacancy on the Board of Freeholders on Saturday, February 1.

The contest is to fill the seat of Heather Darling, who resigned on January 1 to become the Morris County Surrogate.

It’s likely that a vacant Assembly seat in the 25th district will also be filled at the same time.

Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) won a special election convention in November to fill the vacancy created when Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) resigned to succeed his late father in the State Senate.

Bucco remained on the ballot for his Assembly seat and was re-elected on November 5.  The seat Bucco just won will not become vacant until he formally declines to take the oath of office when the legislature reorganizes on January 14.

The acting Morris County GOP chair, Laura Marie Ali, cannot call the 25th district special election convention until next week.  The February 1 date falls within the legal guidelines of filling the Assembly seat at the same time.

Dunn won her Assembly seat on the first ballot by a wide margin and is not expected to face serious opposition to replace Bucco for a second time.

For at least a couple of weeks, Dunn will be a former assemblywoman.

Chatham Township Mayor Tayfun Selen, Pequannock Councilwoman Melissa Florance-Lynch, former Morristown Councilwoman Alison Deeb, and former Pompton Lakes Councilman Christian Barranco are in the race to succeed Darling.

The race was upended last month when Attorney General Gurbir Grewal charged one of the candidates, former freeholder John Cesaro, with accepting a bribe from a cooperating witness, attorney Matthew O’Donnell.

Cesaro is not expected to continue his bid to return to the freeholder board.

The convention is set for 9 AM at the County College of Morris in Randolph.

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