The incumbent Freeholders outspent challengers by approximately 15:1, due to several hundreds of thousands of dollars from unions, specifically the Carpenters' union of NJ, that had endorsed the Mastrangelo, DeFillippo, and Cabana team, and for whom the incumbents had pledged to enact an apprenticeship resolution. This resolution, that has been "deferred" from a vote twice by the Board in the last several months due to public pressure, would basically exclude any smaller and non-union shops from bidding on County public works projects, as it would require bidders to have an apprenticeship training program, which of course are only provided by union shops.
That's the bad news. The good news is that the total votes for freeholder among the "other than incumbents" candidates was higher than the incumbents. John Krickus received 14% of the vote, compared to the incumbents' 20%. The other challengers, Lou Valori, Roman Hirniak, and Peter King, received between 7 and 10% of the vote, so challengers took between 21 and 24% of the vote totals. While they won by comfortable majorities in terms of total votes, the majority of voters voted for someone OTHER than the incumbents.
So the Morris County Freeholder election has now been bought and paid for by big money, and Democrat union interests in two successive elections. Voters either weren't aware of this connection, or didn't care. Blizzards of commercials on Fox News and 15 glossy mailers were not to be overcome. Look for the apprenticeship resolution to now be passed by the Freeholder Board, despite the frequent denials of that eventuality by incumbents during the campaign, most notably by Montville resident and Freeholder, Tom Mastrangelo, who on more than one occasion, declared the resolution "Dead".
Once Republicans start doing the business of the Democrats, it really doesn't matter the party label of the elected officials. Ask residents of once-Republican counties such as Bergen and Essex how that has worked out for them in terms of taxes. The 2000 redistricting plan, won by the Democrats, took six Morris County towns and placed them firmly in control of Democrats Dick Cody, Mila Jasey, and John McKeon. They're coming for your town next!
In addition, the incumbents received endorsements by most of the County's mayors, so letters were paid for by the incumbents, from the mayors, and received several days before the election. Elected officials want the money that flows from the County, which is really the citizen's money, but they endorse those who facilitate that flow of money, and seek to maintain cordial relationships, which usually supports incumbency. Morris Twp. mayor, Dan Caffrey, took exception to the letter his town's residents received indicating his support, and put out a voice e-mail shorty before the election supporting John Krickus.
Whereas other states across the nation are pushing back against the Democratic agenda in many different ways, from standing against Obamacare, passing right to work, suing the feds over illegal immigration, and standing for traditional marriage, NJ is still going the other way. Democrats took four more Assembly seats in last year's elections, so both houses of the legislature are firmly in Democratic control. The 2017 gubernatorial election will be another bellwether one, that will determine whether the NJ ship of state continues to sink, or can be turned around, as is happening across much of the country.
One thing is for sure. The political direction of NJ will only change when and IF the voters say, "enough" and get personally involved in making that happen. Clearly, that's not happening at a fast enough pace in NJ to slow the demise.
Link to Morris County Election Results click below: