Home>Campaigns>New GOP candidate in Morris Township was part of Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol protest

Sherry Nardorillo. (Photo: Sherry Nardorillo via LinkedIn).

New GOP candidate in Morris Township was part of Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol protest

Democrat quit after just seven months, forcing special election in fall

By David Wildstein, August 03 2022 9:57 pm

Morris Township Republicans have picked Sherry Nardolillo, who took part in the January 6, 2021 protest at the U.S. Capitol and has voiced false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, as their candidate for a sudden vacancy on the township committee.

Democrat Tara Olivo-Moore, who was elected last year, resigned on July 22  after just seven months in office.  After seven years as a local resident, she was moving to Massachusetts and triggering a special election in November.

When the local Republican county committee met to pick a candidate, they went with Nardolillo by a 2-1 margin over Joseph Calvanelli, the GOP municipal chairman and a former township committeeman, according to Morristown Green.

Olivo-Moore defeated Calvanelli by 518 votes in 2021, allowing Democrats to retain their 4-1 majority on the township committee.

The Democratic county committee is meeting tonight to submit three names to fill Olivo-Moore’s seat until the results of the November special election are certified.  The township committee will pick one of the three.

Democrats expect the three candidates to be Jen Carcich and Siva Jonnada, who are both members of the Morris Township Environmental Commission, and Donna Guariglia, the Morristown Area League of Women Voters President.

Guariglia comes with a political pedigree: her late father, Robert Peacock, received 48% of the vote against Rep. George Wallhauser (R-Maplewood) in 1960 as a 32-year-old first time candidate, and 47% in a 1962 rematch.  He later served as deputy commissioner of banking, and as the Livingston Democratic Municipal Chairman.

A separate vote is expected to pick the Democratic candidate to run against Nardolillo in the fall.

Republicans are faced with the challenging of pairing a quintessential old guard, establishment candidate, Peter Mancuso, with a running mate that comes with ties to the far right.

Mancuso, 85, has served on the township committee on and off, including stints as mayor,  since 1978.  He faces a Jeff Grayzel, the first Democrat to serve as mayor of Morris Township and candidate for a fourth consecutive term.   In 2019, Mancuso won by 8 votes in the Gluegate election.

Nardolillo and her husband contributed a combined $11,600 to Phil Rizzo’s unsuccessful campaign for Congress in the 7th district., and $500 to Toby Anderson’s congressional run in the 11th district.  She also donated to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) and U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) this year.   In 2021, she contributed $3,000 to Rizzo’s campaign for governor.

The Morristown Green report identified Nardolillo, who grew up in Clark, as the secretary of Mom’s for Liberty’s Morris County chapter.  The group, the report says, opposes school mask and vaccine mandates, opposes critical race theory gender curriculum, and wants to ban certain books at school libraries.

That could be a tough sell in Morris Township, a onetime GOP stronghold that has leaned Democratic in recent elections.

Gov. Phil Murphy carried Morris Township by a 54%-45% margin in 2021; Democratic candidates for the legislature and county commissioner also won.  In 2020, Joe Biden took Morris Township by a 61%-36% margin, with U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) winning 59% and 50%, respectively.

 

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