Home>Highlight>Judge dismisses suit against Morris GOP, orders plaintiffs to pay legal fees

Morris County Republican Chairwoman Laura Marie Ali.

Judge dismisses suit against Morris GOP, orders plaintiffs to pay legal fees

County Republican Committee can proceed with Feb. 6 convention on adopting party line

By Nikita Biryukov, February 01 2021 2:28 pm

A Morris County Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by two former GOP freeholders seeking to block the county’s Republican Committee from holding a convention to adopt a party line.

Judge Maritza Berdote Byrne sided with Morris County Republican Chairwoman Laura Ali, ordering former freeholders David Scapicchio and John Sette, who chaired the county GOP organization for 17 years, to pay legal fees in the case.

Sette and Scapicchio are among a group of Morris Republicans opposed to the line. They argue it would centralize power with the county’s Republican leadership while dissuading new and young Republicans from seeking office there.

Ali and the others backing the line argue it’s needed to keep Republicans competitive as Democratic strength in Morris grows.

A vote was originally scheduled for Jan. 16, but Berdote Byrne issued a temporary restraint blocking that convention over claims it was improperly noticed.

Now, Republicans will convene for a vote on Feb. 6.

The opposition, joined now by two other former county chairs — Lois Johnson and Marilyn Cioffi — have turned their attention to the vote. In a letter sent Friday, they attacked the committee’s current leadership over campaign finance disclosures, claiming corruption was on the horizon.

“We will experience blatant nepotism, back room deals, pay-to-play scandals and patronage for the political connected,” Sette, Scapicchio, Johnson, Cioffi and others said in a letter to GOP committee people. “We essentially will become like them, and the Democratic takeover of the county will be complete.

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