The latest stink in the Republican primary for Morris County freeholder is over the unauthorized use of the National Rifle Association logo on a campaign mailer for candidates Donald Dinsmore, William Felegi and Catherine Winterfield – something that gives the false impression the three challengers have the backing of the powerful gun rights group.
The NRA isn’t taking sides in the race, one of their board members told the New Jersey Globe.
“NRA-ILA has not made any endorsement in the Morris County, NJ freeholder race, nor has the use of the NRA name and logo been authorized for any candidate in that race,” said Scott Bach, an NRA board member and the executive director of the Association of NJ Rifle & Pistol Clubs.
Dinsmore defended the use of the logo in his campaign materials.
“We’re all proud NRA members,” he said of himself and his two running mates.
The campaign mailer does not mention gun issues.
Freeholder Thomas Mastrangelo, who is seeking re-election to a third term, doesn’t think it’s acceptable for Dinsmore to mislead Republican primary voters into thinking the NRA has a preference in this race.
“He didn’t receive an endorsement,” Mastrangelo said. “It’s deception.”
Mastrangelo says he and his two running mates, incumbents Douglas Cabana and Kathy DeFilippo, are also NRA members.
Republicans have been complaining about Dinsmore’s tactics for months.
In January, four local officeholders pushed back on a Dinsmore press release listing them as endorsers, saying they supported Cabana, Mastrangelo and DeFilippo.
Carlos Rendo, the 2017 GOP candidate for Lt. Governor, said Dinsmore duped him into endorsing him.
“Dinsmore called me and asked if I would endorse him. He told me he was running for an open Freeholder seat in Morris County,” said Rendo, the mayor of Woodcliff Lake. “After finding out this was not the truth and knowing this is a primary against a very strong incumbent team, I decided to withdraw my endorsement and stand with Doug, Tom and Kathy for Republican party unity.”
Cabana, Mastrangelo and DeFilippo called on the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission to investigate a $42,000 payment Dinsmore made to a Wyoming consulting firm they say doesn’t exist.