By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Eight-term Morris Sheriff Edward Rochford is taking sides in this spring’s brutal freeholder primary, Save Jerseyans.
“In my 23 years in county government, I have never witnessed a more dysfunctional Freeholder board who are taking this county in the wrong direction,” said Sheriff Rochford in a strongly-worded Wednesday statement released by the campaign of incumbent John Cesaro and his “Morris First” ticket running mates, Christine Myers and Angelo Tedesco.
Rochford and Cesaro were also on the same side during last year’s county police merger debate.
“John Cesaro, although an incumbent, has NOT been part of the problem, but has been part of the solution,” he added. “We have to get some sanity back on the Morris County Freeholder Board.”
The good sheriff and I certainly agree on at least one point, Save Jerseyans: Morris County politics is insane. And intensely personal.
This year’s open primary has elicited plenty of heated allegations and, troubling, a stream of third party spending traced to Democrat sources and backing the Cesaro-Myers-Tedesco slate. Sources on the ground report an almost every-other-day onslaught of mailers financed by pacs not formally affiliated with either campaign.
The latest? New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) filings show nearly $70,000 in campaign contributions from Big Labor groups to the Cesaro ticket including $24,600 from the Union County-based Operating Engineers Local 825 from Union County.
“John Cesaro knows his base of support amongst Republicans is virtually non-existent, so he actively sought out powerful Democrats and liberal special interests to invade our Republican primary and seek to take over county government,” said Freeholder Dave Scapicchio who is teamed up with fellow Freeholder John Krickus and Denville Councilwoman Deborah Smith. “It’s outrageous.”
Their opponents’ response has been to ignore off the PAC line of attack and accuse detractors of hypocrisy for selectively criticizing labor endorsements.
“Would they call Assemblyman Bucco a ‘Democrat’ for bringing big union and Democrat money from outside Morris County into the 25th District–which represents 20 towns in Morris County, including Krickus’ home town of Washington Township and Smith’s home town of Denville?” said Morris First campaign spokesman, King Penna, referencing a recent Anthony Bucco Assembly campaign fundraising invite trumpeting labor union support.
My head hurts…