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Christine McGrath

Verona: Five candidates seek pair of council seats in May

Ex-school board president, gun safety activist, West Point grad face two incumbents

By David Wildstein, March 19 2019 10:58 am

Two Verona councilmen face three challengers in the May non-partisan municipal elections.

Deputy mayor Michael Nochimson is seeking his third term on the council.  He won an open seat in 2011 by eight votes and was the top vote-getter when he sought re-election in 2015 when just 297 votes separated him from the fourth-place candidate.

Alex Roman was elected to the council four years ago, ousting incumbent Frank Sapienza, a former mayor, by 247 votes.

Three seemingly strong challengers have emerged to take on Nochimson and Roman: former Board of Education president John Quattrocchi, who was elected to the school board five times; Friends of the Verona Library president Christine McGrath, who runs the local chapter of Moms Demand Action and was treasurer for the 2017 campaign of councilman Ted Giblin, the son of assemblyman Tom Giblin; and businessman John Fio Rito, a West Point graduate who served in Operation Desert Strike on the Kuwait/Iraq border and on the U.S. peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

Worth watching here is how well McGrath, a former Aetna and Pfizer manager and a gun safety advocate, does in organizing progressives to turn out in a May local election.

Nochimson is a Republican who endorsed Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) for Congress in the 2018 11th district primary.

This could foreshadow the performance of Verona Democratic municipal chair Laura Berman Fortgang, who is running for State Assembly in the 26th district against incumbents Webber (R- and Betty Lou DeCroce (R-Parsippany).

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