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Hopatcong Board of Education member Anthony Fasano

Sussex GOP freeholder candidates fails to make ballot

Disqualification of Knipe leaves Petillo, Fasano unopposed in GOP primary

By David Wildstein, April 07 2019 7:33 pm

Peter Knipe’s campaign for the Republican freeholder nomination in Sussex County ended on Friday when the county clerk rejected his petitions to run in the June primary.

That leaves incumbent Sylvia Petillo and Hopatcong school board member Anthony Fasano unopposed in a county where Democrats have not won a countywide election since 1999.

“His petitions were reviewed.  There were 13 signatures where the was a question,” said county clerk Jeff Parrott.  “He didn’t meet the criteria of 100 signatures.

Knipe, who serves on the Frankford Economic Development Commission, had announced his candidacy in January for the open seat created by the retirement of freeholder George Graham.

Petillo are Fasano are part of a GOP Unity Team slate that includes assemblymen Parker Space (R-Wantage) and Hal Wirths (R-Wantage), and sheriff Michael Strada.

Fasano, 25, was elected to the Board of Education at age 19.  If he wins, he could be one of the youngest freeholders in the state.

Petillo, a former Hopatcong councilwoman and mayor, is seeking re-election to her second term as a freeholder.  In 2018, she had briefly mulled a bid for the Republican nomination for Congress after Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen announced his retirement.

Republicans throughout the state have recruited a group of millennial candidates to run for countywide office, but Fasano is the only one who comes from a solidly Republican county.

In Bergen, former Westwood councilwoman Alyssa Dawson. 25, and Bergen County Young Republican chair Kathleen Cericola, 24, are running for freeholder.   One of the GOP candidates for Gloucester County freeholder is 23-year-old Andrea Sammons, the county Young Republican chair.

Hudson County Republicans are running 18-year-old Kennith Gonzalez for county executive against incumbent Thomas DeGise, who is 50 years older.

In 2018, Warren County elected Republican James Kern, the 29-year-old mayor of Lopatcong, to the Board of Freeholders.

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