Morris County Democrats chose Chip Robinson of Lincoln Park as their new chairman on Tuesday night, capping a day that began with the contenders for that post facing off in court.
Mary Dougherty, who unsuccessfully challenged voting procedures, pledged to work with the new chairman after municipal committee members from across the county cast their ballots at the Villa in Mountain Lakes.
“It was a wonderful process that energized our county Democrats and I am honored to have been a candidate,” Mary said of the election. “I congratulate Chip, and look forward to working with him in growing our party.”
There is plenty of growing to do. Registered Democrats are outnumbered by Republicans by more than two-to-one in Morris County.
Tuesday’s precise tally for the chairmanship was not immediately available.
Mary was nominated from the convention floor by her husband, Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, and she remains the town’s Democratic chairperson.
While doubting that a courtroom victory would have changed the outcome of her county race, she said the attempt was worthwhile and she would not have done anything differently.
“It was important for the integrity of our party to ensure that we were acting within the law,” Mary said. Her lawsuit contended it was illegal for eleventh-hour appointees to Democratic municipal committees to vote for a county chairman.
Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury saw it otherwise, saying he found no reason to disenfranchise county committee members.
Chip Robinson had called Mary’s last-minute legal challenge “inappropriate.” He could not be reached late Tuesday for comment about his election to the two-year chairmanship.
The attorney had served as the county committee’s executive director. He replaces Lew Candura, who is retiring after a decade as county chair.
Chip has vowed to add communications-, search- and finance directors to the county committee. On his website, he also stresses his “independence from political bosses.
“We need to raise more money as an organization, but we need to do it with the people from Morris County,” he said. “We cannot allow outside interests to gain influence or control of our committee.”
Elected with Chip were Truscha Quatrone of Montville as vice chair–a post Mary Dougherty held for the last three years–along with Scott Carlson of Parsippany as executive director, Sharon Varnelas of Morris Township as treasurer, Ove Parmlind of Florham Park as secretary, and Dave Cochran of Morristown as sergeant-at-arms.