Grayzel concedes Morris Township race; committee will return to all-GOP control

Republican Louise Johnson holds a 17-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Jeff Grayzel. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin
Republican Louise Johnson holds a 17-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Jeff Grayzel. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin
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Republican Louise Wilson holds a 17-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Jeff Grayzel. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin
THE PARTY’S OVER.  The Democratic party, on the Morris Township committee. Incumbent Democrat Jeff Grayzel has conceded to Republican Louise Wilson, whose 14-vote victory in the Nov. 4 election gives the GOP all seats on the governing body. Provisional ballots will be counted on Monday. Montage by Kevin Coughlin

 

After three recounts, Jeff Grayzel has thrown in the towel.

Morris Township’s lone Democratic committeeman–and the only Democrat ever elected to two terms–said on Sunday that he would not pursue his last long-shot: Challenging specific paper ballots from the Nov. 4 election.

Republican newcomer Louise Johnson will be sworn in next month, the victor by 14 votes.  The GOP will hold all five committee seats.

“I wish Louise Johnson all the best as she takes my place on the dais,” Grayzel said in a statement, adding that he plans to remain involved in the community.

By his reckoning, Monday (Dec. 15, 2014) would have been the deadline to file his election challenge with the court.

Here’s the full statement.

FROM MORRIS TOWNSHIP COMMITTEEMAN JEFF GRAYZEL:

December 14, 2014

Jeff Grayzel Concedes Morris Township Committee Election

Following a recount by candidates at the Board of Elections, and his own broader analysis of all paper ballots, Democrat Jeff Grayzel has conceded the local election for Morris Township Committee. The recount and provisional ballot review reduced the vote gap between Grayzel and second-place finisher Louise Johnson from 15 to 14. More than 7,000 Morris Township residents cast votes in the November general election.

Grayzel had until Monday December 15 to file his election challenge with the court. Said Grayzel: “My final option was to challenge specific paper ballots. Upon my review, I concluded that there was a low probability I could change the election outcome. Fourteen votes may not seem like a lot, but in the context of a challenge in our municipal race, I felt it is too large a number to overcome.”

“History had shown that a recount can lead to a change in the result of a Morris township election, which is why I initially requested the recount.” Grayzel said. “Back in 2006, I had an 11-vote lead, but the recount found 12 more votes for my opponent. So this year with 517 paper ballots to be recounted, I thought there was a reasonable chance for me to overcome this year’s deficit during the recount phase.”

“In the current recount process I was fighting for the nearly 50% of municipal election voters who expressed confidence in me. It was imperative that I fight until I was certain I had exhausted all options. My defeat now means half of the voters have lost representation in which they have confidence. Further, the Township Committee now has a 5-0 Republican hold and does not reflect the composition of our local electorate.”

“Democrats took a beating across the nation this November. I bucked that trend with 50% of the vote in a municipality with a Republican majority. I believe I have earned the respect of a majority of Township residents. I legislated based on the feedback I received from residents – some of whom felt under-represented by the Township Committee.”

“I am honored to have served two terms on the Township Committee. I intend to continue to be involved in our community and help find ways to maintain our high quality of life in Morris Township. I wish Louise Johnson all the best as she takes my place on the dais.”

About Jeff Grayzel

Jeff Grayzel was running as an incumbent for his third term as a member of the Morris Township Committee. In 2007 Grayzel became the first Democrat to be elected to the Morris Township Committee since 1973, and he is the only Democrat ever to be elected to two terms.

During his second term on the Township Committee, Grayzel currently chaired the Municipal Court and Parking Lot Sub-committees, and was also a representative of the sewer utility and communications sub-committees. He was also a planning board member for two years, 2008-2009, and is currently a member of the Township Trails & Pathways committee.

Grayzel has improved communication about Township government affairs through publication of his own Morris Township Update e-newsletter since 2007.

Grayzel is a long-time coach for MNLL little league and MUSC soccer, and he has enjoyed coaching many young children throughout the Township for the past nine years. He is also a former vice-president of the Washington Valley Community Association and presently sits on the Board of Directors of the Morristown Jewish Center.

Grayzel grew up in New Jersey and his family has lived in the Washington Valley section of Morris Township since 1997.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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