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Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Special election for Sellinger’s seat

Soriano will face off against McCourt for unexpired Democratic State Committee seat

By David Wildstein, December 16 2021 10:46 am

The first election of 2022 will come on January 2, when Morris County Democrats have a special meeting to elect a new Democratic State Committeeman.

Philip R. Sellinger resigned last week after the United States Senate confirmed his nomination as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.  Sellinger had won re-election to another four-year term in the June Democratic primary.

So far, two candidates have stepped up to replace Sellinger: outgoing Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano and T.C. McCourt, who ran for county commissioner this year.

Soriano lost his bid for a second term in November, losing a rematch with former Republican Mayor James Barbiero by 794 votes.  McCourt, making his second bid for office, lost to a slate of incumbent Republican county commissioners by over 27,000 votes.

The election comes under the backdrop of a local party controversy over the selection of A.J. Oliver, a pro-life activist, as a candidate for county commissioner.  Democratic leaders complained that the county chairman, Chip Robinson, didn’t inform them of Oliver’s position on abortion.

Morris County has six state committee seats and under state law, three are held by men and three by women.  That means Sellinger’s replacement must be a man, although some activists have begun to question that mandate.

The winner will serve the remaining 3 1/2 years of Sellinger’s term.

Sellinger had been the top vote-getter in the June primary, outpolling attorney Scott Carlson by 44 votes and Chatham Mayor Thaddeus Kobylarz by 324.

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