Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty has racked up some big-name endorsements — from Gov. Phil Murphy to Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Mikie Sherrill — in his bid for a fourth term.
On Thursday, his Democratic challenger, Esperanza Porras-Field, garnered support closer to home: From Morristown cops.
PBA Local 43 voted 47-7, with two abstentions, to endorse Field in the June 8 primary. It may be a first for the local, “but that’s how important we feel this is,” said union President Dennis Bergman.
“Community policing starts with a healthy relationship between the town administration and our union members. Esperanza’s views on community policing align with ours as well as other issues facing our agency members. We work for the community and look forward to strengthening relationships between the town leaders as well as community leaders,” Bergman posted on the PBA’s Facebook page.
Last month, the PBA accused the mayor of political corruption, via digital signs on a truck parked near the Morristown Green.
Dougherty, a union man himself, on Wednesday defended the officers’ right to endorse candidates. He attributed their disaffection to a contractual dispute.
“They sat down, we had lunch. They offered support if I did X,Y,Z, and that wasn’t going to happen. They have to negotiate contracts with the business administrator, not the mayor,” Dougherty said during a League of Women Voters virtual candidates forum.
A sampling of testimonials for Dougherty:
“As Mayor, Tim Dougherty has earned a reputation for principled, forward-looking leadership and always puts the residents of Morristown first. In response to the many challenges of the pandemic, Mayor Dougherty is supporting hard-hit small businesses, delivering real results, and moving Morristown forward.” –Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Mayor Tim Dougherty loves his community and is deeply committed to the residents of Morristown. As a former Mayor myself, I know the job is not always easy, but time and time again, Mayor Dougherty has risen to the occasion; as he has done throughout the pandemic, where he continues to help families and local businesses get through this extraordinarily difficult period. I’m proud to endorse Mayor Dougherty for re-election and, together with Councilwoman Toshiba Foster, Councilman David Silva and Nathan Umbriac, I know he will keep Morristown moving forward.” — Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“Confronted with the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Dougherty was steadfast in his leadership of Morristown in a moment when his residents needed him most. I am proud to endorse his candidacy for reelection and look forward to continuing to work with him to deliver for the people of Morristown. Plenty of work lies ahead, but Mayor Dougherty has proven he’s ready for the challenges ahead and will always put Morristown first.” –Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11th Dist.)
“Morristown without Mayor Dougherty would be like the Mets without All-Star pitcher Jacob deGrom. Morristown has enjoyed great success with Mayor Dougherty’s leadership: A vibrant downtown with many small businesses, taxes that have decreased five times over the last ten years, and protection of 11 acres of open space. That’s like having a World Series winner every year.” — Former Gov. and state Sen. Richard Codey (D-27th Dist.)
Dougherty, who works at the Prudential Center in Newark, served on the Morristown council prior to winning the mayoralty, a part-time position paying $27,000. He also is a voting member of the town planning board.
Porras-Field, a Colombian immigrant who founded the Morris County Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce, is making her fourth bid for public office.
She ran for the Morris School District board in 1994, the Morris County Board of Commissioners in 1997, and the town council in 2017.
She is a realtor and has served on the town planning board and the Morristown Parking Authority.