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Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Morris Dems celebrate wins as GOP disunity rears its head

Dems picked up nine local seats last week

By Nikita Biryukov, November 13 2019 1:09 pm

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Morris County Democrats are celebrating local wins as one of the county’s Republican freeholders is calling for the resignation of the county’s GOP chair

Democrats won nine local seats in the county, including mayorships in Boonton and Chatham Borough.

“We could not be more proud of our accomplishments this year,” Morris County Democratic Chairman Chip Robinson said. “By knocking on tens of thousands of doors and engaging voters, we brought many of these local candidates over the finish line and flipped towns that have not been in Democratic control for decades, if ever.”

Democrats scored local wins in Boonton, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, Madison, Morris Plains and Morristown.

They gained control in both Chathams.

County-backed Democrats also ousted Dover Mayor Jim Dodd and his allies. Dodd lost the support of the county organization last year.

“In the span of 2 election cycles, we brought strong Democratic leadership to the town of Dover and defeated Dodd’s Democrats in Name Only,” Robinson said. “Dover residents will finally have a local government that truly represents them and will work with other Democrats at all levels of government.

Despite Democrats’ local wins, Republican candidates easily won Morris’s countywide races, but the disunity that defined last year’s race for control of the county GOP appears to be rearing its head once again.

Republican County Chairman Ron DeFilippis won his race last year by just four votes. His bid against Robert Zwigard was a bitter one, and while Republicans have maintained control over the county’s government without much challenge, the county party has seen no shortage of problems since then.

The party was broke when DeFilippis took its reigns, and Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo invoked the lack of party resources given to local races in his calls for the chairman’s resignation.

It’s not clear how far the intra-party fight will go, but it’ll likely make it harder for Republicans to face their Democratic opponents should it stretch too long.

“In many of these towns and districts, this year was the first time we had Democrats running serious races,” Robinson said. “We are so proud of the work they did moving the needle.”

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