The Operating Engineers Local 825 is taking sides in some Morris County races, backing Republicans for the legislature in the 25th district and county commissioner, and a GOP challenger for mayor of Parsippany.
The union, which has a reputation for backing up their endorsements with significant money and boots on the ground, endorsed James Barberio in the closely-watched Parsippany mayor’s race. Democrat Michael Soriano, a union electrician, thwarted Barberio’s 2017 bid for a third term in a major upset.
“As Mayor, Jamie Barberio prioritized smart development, working with all parties involved and was committed to including the most highly skilled work force on major infrastructure projects – that is a model elected official we were and still are proud to support,” said Greg Lalevee, the businessman manager of Local 825. “Along with his team, Justin Musella and Frank Neglia, Parsippany will be in good hands under their leadership.”
In the 25th district, Local 825 is supporting State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) and two Assembly incumbents, Brian Bergen (R-Denville) and Aura Dunn (R-Mendham).
Lalevee said the incumbent lawmakers have “been there for the members of Local 825” before and throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“From ensuring our members could go to work, that they were safe doing their work, and fighting to keep our infrastructure economy moving they have been great partners for us throughout these difficult times,” he said of Bucco, Bergen and Dunn.
Three Republican county commissioners seeking re-election – Deborah Smith, Stephen Shaw and John Krickus – also received the endorsement of IUOE Local 825.
Republicans are heavily favored in the 25th, where Democrats haven’t won a Senate seat since 1993 – Bucco’s father, Anthony R. Bucco, unseated a Democratic senator in 1997. The last Democratic victory on the Assembly side was in 1977, when Rosemarie Totaro (D-Denville) won an open seat.
In Morris County, Democrats haven’t won a countywide election since 1973 when Douglas Romaine rode the Watergate wave to a victory.