It’s shaping up as a lively primary season in Morristown, where Democratic incumbents face challenges in two of four wards.
In the Third Ward, Councilman Stefan Armington’s November bid for a third four-year term hinges on his holding off a June 4 primary challenge by Steven Pylypchuk, a civil engineer and town environmental commissioner who helped fellow residents defeat a Dunkin Donuts proposed for Washington Street a few years ago.
Armington, a professional planner and council liaison to the town planning board, said he’s proud of his record, which includes authoring a municipal bike plan and noise ordinance. He also has worked with residents for traffic calming measures and to combat residential overcrowding.
Second Ward Councilwoman Hiliari Davis wants a second term, but first she must contend with primary challenger Towanna Cotten.
No Republicans filed for the Morristown council races; the deadline was Monday.
Democrat Oliver Starnes filed in the First Ward, where Republican Councilman Robert Iannaccone intends to seek a second term– this time, as an Independent.
“I honestly believe local politics is nonpartisan. We should be concerned about local issues for local residents,” said Iannaccone, who got onto the ballot four years ago as a write-in.
Although the town is run pretty well by Mayor Tim Dougherty’s administration and the Democrat-controlled council, Iannaccone said, it’s important to ask questions.
Iannaccone, a lawyer who is the CEO of a Newark hospital, said he pushed for Morristown to update its zoning laws to clearly define bars and restaurants. He also pressed for a police report to the council, delivered for the first time last month.
Additionally, Iannaccone has advocated for tenants and for residents who successfully opposed a self-storage facility proposed for Morris Street.
Starnes, a grants manager, holds degrees from Trinity College in Connecticut and has volunteered for Sen. Cory Booker.
In the Fourth Ward, Sandi Mayer, a member of the town Shade Tree Commission, filed for the Democrats. Councilwoman Alison Deeb could not immediately be reached on Tuesday about whether she intends to seek a fourth term.
Deeb’s November candidacy could be secured with write-in votes during the primary. That’s how she got on the ballot when she unsuccessfully challenged Tim Dougherty, a Democrat, for mayor in 2017.
In 2015, Deeb survived a court battle to hang onto an 8-vote council victory over Democrat Justin Davis, who now is the town’s Democratic chairman.
In neighboring Morris Township, a GOP bastion until recently, Peter Mancuso will seek to preserve the lone remaining Republican seat on the governing body.
The retired member of the New York Stock Exchange will run for his seventh three-year term.
He’ll be challenged in the fall by Democrat William “Bud” Ravitz, an AT&T project manager with degrees from the College of New Jersey and Kean University.
Two three-year council seats are up for grabs in Morris Plains. The vacancies are created by the retirement of Council President Suzanne McCluskey, a Republican, and last year’s mayoral victory by Democratic Councilman Jason Karr.
The GOP is running Lucia Galdi and William J. Smith. For the Democrats, it’s Joan Goddard, who was appointed earlier this year the Karr’s unexpired term, and Nancy Verga.
Three three-year terms will be contested for Morris County Freeholder. Republican incumbents Douglas Cabana of Boonton, Kathy DeFillippo of Sucasunna and
Thomas Mastrangelo of Montville face primary challenges from Donald Dinsmore of Morristown, William Felegi of Lake Hopatcong and Catherine Winterfield of Pompton Plains.
Three Democrats filed petitions to run:
Cara Parmigiani, an attorney from Morris Plains; and Cary Amaro and
David Timpana, both of Randolph.
Morris County Sheriff James Gannon of Boonton seeks his second term; he will square off in the fall against former Undersheriff William Schievella of Rockaway Township. Schievella now is director of the Police Studies Institute at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township.
Three Republicans will vie in the primary for the right to run for surrogate, a five-year term. John Pecoraro, a Republican, is stepping down.
The GOP contenders are Michael Patrick Carroll, a Morris Township resident stepping down after years as an Assemblyman in the 25th District; Heather Darling, a Morris County freeholder from Sucasunna; and Isabella Alfano of Lake Hiawatha.
Michael T. Thompson, a Democrat from Mendham Township, also has tossed his hat in the ring.
ASSEMBLY 25TH DISTRICT
Two seats are being contested in the 25th District, which covers most of Morris and part of Somerset counties. One is held by Boonton Township Republican Anthony M. Bucco, who aims to keep it. The other is being relinquished by his GOP colleague, Michael Patrick Carroll, who is running for county surrogate.
Three other Republicans are in the primary hunt: Denville resident Aura Kenny Dunn, a former legislative aide to former Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen; Brian Bergen of Denville; and John M. Barbarula of Randolph.
The Democrats will send Lisa Bhimani of Mendham and Darcy Draeger of Chester into the general election.
ASSEMBLY 26TH DISTRICT
Republican incumbents Jay Webber of Morris Plains, who lost a bid for Congress in November, and Betty Lou DeCroce of Morris Plains, will face November challenges from Democrats Christine Clarke of Lake Hopatcong and Laura Fortgang of Verona in the 26th District Assembly race.
The district covers parts of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties.