The name Dougherty has become synonymous with victory at election time in Morristown. And the tradition continued on Tuesday — but with a different Dougherty.
Mary Dougherty, who has helped her husband, Tim Dougherty, win three terms as mayor, won her first Democratic primary.
In November, she aims to become the first Democrat elected as a Morris County Freeholder in four decades.
“Our team did really well. Now the real work begins,” Mary Dougherty said after preliminary primary results were tabulated.
Video: The Doughertys after voting in the 2018 Democratic primary
She was Tuesday’s top vote-getter, with 21,576 votes, on a ticket with Rupande Mehta (20,746) of Denville and Richard Corcoran (19,443) of Boonton.
Now they will run for three seats on the Morris County Freeholder Board. A fourth Democrat, Vanessa Brown of Mendham Township, fell short with 6,950 votes.
County Republicans on Tuesday voted to place incumbent Freeholder Deborah Smith (18,770 votes), Stephen Shaw (16,799 votes) of Mountain Lakes, and John Krickus (16,503) of Washington Township on the autumn ballot.
GOP incumbent John Cesaro (12,953) didn’t make the cut, nor did Aura Dunn (10,794), who works in Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s (R-11th Dist.) office.
The only drama for Mary Dougherty on Tuesday appears to have been the malfunction of two voting machines at her polling place, the Ann Street seniors center.
Both machines for her voting district did not start when plugged into electrical outlets. They ran on backup battery power for a few hours until county election officials delivered a replacement machine, according to poll workers.
Concerns about the quality of senior care at the Morris View nursing home, where her mother-in-law resides, helped motivate Mary Dougherty to run. The county recently privatized the facility.
“I think residents of Morris County are much more in tune with what’s going on around them, with this political climate, and they are seeing some things that just aren’t right, and they want to do something about it,” said the candidate
She finds that prospect exciting.
“This is a good role, these freeholder seats. You can do a lot of really good work. I’m really honored to be in a position to have one of those seats. This is what I’ve been doing in my life for the last 30 years. It’s just a natural transition, on a larger level,” said Mary Dougherty.
A realtor, she teaches Sunday school at Assumption Church and serves on the board of Mrs. Wilson’s Treatment Center, a halfway house for women.
Another Dougherty thinks she is ready for her next challenge.
“She’s tenacious, well educated, she knows the issues,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty. “I’m 100 percent behind her. She’ll make a great Freeholder for Morris County.”