The elephant in the room in the race for Morris County Republican Chairman is that no candidates filed to run for county committee in 292 races for 792 county committee seats.
That’s an enormous number of vacancies for a party that hasn’t lost a countywide election in 45 years.
It also creates some real uncertainty for the June 12 election to replace Patti Page, who is not seeking a full-term after taking over as county chair last year. Morris County GOP finance chairman Ron DeFilippis faces Rob Zwigard, who ran Sheriff James Gannon’s campaign in 2016.
Candidates who did not file to run in the June primary can still emerge as write-in candidates, provided that the receive an equal number of votes as the required signatures to file a petition. Those numbers are different for each district and should be verified, since a Superior Court Judge ruled in April that County Clerk Ann Grossi does not understand the formula to determine that number as outlined in state election law.
Last week, Page asked Republican municipal chairs to provide copies of their by-laws, which likely anticipates a number of last-minute appointments.
After the primary, the municipal committee can make appointments to fill vacant seats after the municipal chairman is duly elected.
* Boonton: In the hometown of State Sen. Anthony Bucco, no candidates filed for 9 of 16 seats.
* Butler: Only one candidate filed for 10 seats; the municipal chairman, councilman Doug Travers, did not file for re-election to the county committee.
* Chester: Nobody filed for the 2 seats, including councilwoman Jennifer Cooper-Napolitano, the municipal chair.
* Dover: No candidates filed for any of the 24 county committee seats, including the current municipal chairman, Jim Mullin.
* East Hanover: In Zwigard’s hometown, no candidates filed for 10 of 16 county committee seats, including Republican municipal chairman Mario Accumano.
* Jefferson: No candidates filed for 14 of 28 county committee seats, including councilwoman Deb Merz, the municipal chair.
* Lincoln Park: No candidates filed for 10 of 16 seats. In Ward 1, District 2, incumbent Nicholas Cifelli faces a challenge from his next-door neighbor, Daniel Moeller.
* Long Hill: No candidates filed for any of the 12 county committee seats, including municipal chair Kathy O’Neill.
* Madison: No candidates filed for 20 of 28 county committee seats.
* Morris Township: No candidates filed for 31 of 46 county committee seats.
* Morristown: No candidates filed for 24 of 28 county committee seats.
* Mount Olive: No candidates filed for 26 of 44 county committee seats.
* In Roxbury, DeFilippis’ hometown, no candidates filed for 24 of 44 county committee seats.