Morristown’s council campaign spending scorecard

dollar sign elections

By Kevin Coughlin

dollar sign electionsWhat does it cost to get elected in Morristown?

We won’t know until Tuesday. But here’s what it costs to run.

State filings by local council candidates show Morris County Republicans are spending quite a bit to try to win a GOP seat in the heavily Democratic Second Ward.

And Democrats are spending much more in efforts to unseat a GOP incumbent in the Fourth Ward.


Republican candidate Robert Iannaccone has raised $7,695, according to his most recent filings with the state, and has spent $2,936.  He’s got some skin in the game– $3,000 of that total is loans to himself.  His major backers include Eldon and Fern Priestly, a retired couple, in for $2,500, and Ken Miller, head of the Historic Preservation Commission, good for $1,000.  Iannacone’s treasurer is Council President Rebecca Feldman, an Independent, whose seat he hopes to fill.

Democratic candidate Chris Russo wins the frugality award. He has raised… zero dollars, according to his documents. Russo said he is relying on a grass-roots, door-to-door campaign, with lawn signs and promotional literature funded by the local Democratic committee. Committee filings do not indicate any spending on his behalf. Russo’s honorary treasurer is his mother, he said.


GOP candidate Sidney Williams Jr.   has collected $11,459, and spent $7,877. Major donors include the Morris County Republican Victory PAC, $4,000, the Morris County Republican committee, $2,835, and Fourth Ward residents Ken and Nancy Miller, $1,000. Williams’ treasurer is Chris Martin, a former councilman and member of the Concerned Citizens of the Second Ward.

Democratic candidate Hiliari Davis-Oyesanya has raised $5,500, and spent $2,429, according to her latest filing.  Major contributors include the Iron Bar, at $2,600, and Parsippany attorney Paul Weiner, at $1,000. Her treasurer is Michael Schmidt, who serves on the zoning board and is chairman of First Night Morris.


Democratic incumbent Stefan Armington is unopposed on Nov. 3, 2015.


Incumbent Republican Alison Deeb has raised $8,087, and spent $3,667, according to her most recent campaign report. The lion’s share of her funds–$5,167–were transferred from a prior campaign. Major contributors include Ken and Nancy Miller, who together gave $1,500    She has loaned her campaign $830.    Her treasurer is Richard Clawson, who also is treasurer for the Morris County Republican Victory PAC.

Democratic challenger Justin Davis wins the fundraising sweepstakes, with a war chest of $24,075. He has spent $15,905, his documents show. Major contributions include $7,600 from his boss, state Sen. Richard Codey (D-27th Dist.):  $2,600 of that is from Codey’s election fund, while Codey and his wife Mary Jo each have made personal donations of $2,500.  Another $5,600 is from businesses associated with Iron Bar owner Jimmy Cavanaugh (Phoenix Contractors Inc. and Nina Capital LLC). Thomas DeSomma, executive director of the Lodi Housing Authority, has donated $2,500.  Davis’ treasurer is former Congressional candidate John Arvanites.


The Morristown Democratic Committee reported $9,205 cash in hand this month. Major contributors included 55 East Partners of Parsippany, $1,000; ETCP Realty of Mendham, $1,000; and Finn Wentworth of Normandy Real Estate Partners in Morristown, $500.  The committee chairwoman is Mary Dougherty and the treasurer is Michael Schmidt.


So far this year, the Morristown GOP committee has not filed any financial information with the state. Reporting is not required until certain thresholds are exceeded. The committee chairman is Frank Vitolo and the treasurer is Angelique Scholl.



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