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Rockaway petition case moved to Passaic County

Candidate for challenged petition is wife of Morris judge

By David Wildstein, April 17 2018 11:32 am

UPDATE: A spokesman for the New Jersey Judiciary confirmed late this morning that the transfer of the Rockaway petition case has been received by Passaic County.

The drive from the Morristown to Paterson is just 28 minutes, but a challenge to nominating petitions in for the Rockaway Township Republican Committee still hasn’t made its way to the Superior Court in Passaic County.

Judge Stuart Minkowitz signed an order Monday afternoon transferring the case to Passaic County, according to a spokesman for the New Jersey judiciary.   One of the candidates whose petition is being challenged is the wife of a Superior Court Judge in Morris.

But an aide in the chambers of Ernest Caposela, the Passaic County Assignment Judge, said on Tuesday morning that the case had not yet been transferred.

Lawyers for Vincent La Iacona III, whose challenge to county committee candidates in Rockaway Township, filed an appeal in Superior Court Friday after acting municipal clerk Marcy Gianattasio ruled against seven of his eight challenges on last week.

The outcome could affect a fiery battle for Morris County GOP chairman between Ronald DeFilippis and Rob Zwigard in June.

New Jersey election law sets a complicated formula for the minimum number of petition signatures required to run for county committee, but Morris officials insist that the county GOP organization has determined an alternative method of calculating the numbers.

Deputy County Clerk John Wojtaszek told the New Jersey Globe this week that political parties “have the right under case law that they make their own rules.”  He cited letters filed in 1994 from the Republican and Democratic county chairmen setting petition guidelines that may conflict with state election law.

Twenty other county clerks follow the formula outlined in the statutes.

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