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Former Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald. (Photo: Troy Oswald).

Passaic GOP taps Oswald to run for county commissioner

Ex-Paterson police chief will replace Marsala on GOP ticket

By David Wildstein, June 29 2022 9:12 pm

Former Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald will run for Passaic County Commissioner, replacing Bill Marsala on the Republican ticket.

Marsala, a former deputy mayor of Ringwood, came within 652 votes of winning a county commissioner seat in 2021.  He cited family obligations as his reason to withdraw from the race.

Oswald had initially been a candidate for sheriff, but he was tossed from the ballot under an obscure state law that set a three-year residency requirement for just that post.  He grew up in Little Falls but lived in Morris and Sussex counties before moving to Clifton last year.

“I can think of no better candidate to step in and keep our momentum rolling than Chief Troy Oswald,” said Passaic County GOP Chairman Peter Murphy.  “Troy has been working for months in support of our ticket and he will bring extensive knowledge and experience to our team as a Commissioner candidate.”

The move sets up an all-law enforcement ticket for the Republicans.  Paterson police lieutenant Mason Maher III is running for sheriff and Paterson PBA president Alex Cruz is a candidate for county commissioner.

“The opportunity to run with my brothers in blue — Mason Maher and Alex Cruz — is something I simply cannot pass up,” said Oswald, who was picked by the party’s executive committee on Tuesday evening.

Maher will take on four-term Democratic Sheriff Richard Berdnik, while Cruz and Oswald are challenging veteran county commissioners Terry Duffy and Pat Lepore.

A Republican surge in Passaic County in 2021 resulted in the election of a GOP county commissioner for the first time in twelve years.  Gov. Phil Murphy, who had carried Passaic by 21,186 votes in 2017, won it by a narrower 4,261-vote plurality last year.  Republicans nearly won two more county commissioner seat and the Surrogate’s office.

Passaic County GOP Chairman Peter Murphy had built his ticket around Oswald, a 31-year veteran of the Paterson Police Department who had been viewed as a homerun recruit.  His late father, Edward T. Oswald, had been the police chief in Little Falls, and his brother is a Fairfield police sergeant.

Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela allowed Republicans to replace Oswald on the June primary ballot with Maher, and a state appellate court panel upheld the ruling.

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