When does an apparent “winner” act like a loser? When it’s Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce. DeCroce just survived her recent primary and likely is headed for re-election in the Fall, but she just can’t get out of attack mode, and so she’s again turned her fire on the top vote-getter in the 26th District, Assemblyman Jay Webber. This is a constituent’s call to DeCroce to put aside her bitterness, to stop attacking other Republicans, and instead to start serving the people she just asked to vote for her.
It is not exactly clear what drives DeCroce to lash out even now. Perhaps DeCroce recognizes how much she squandered in just a few short years the reputable name and good will she came into office with. Consider that despite the power of incumbency and one of the most recognized political names in recent Morris County history, it took a mind-boggling $600,000+ in DeCroce propaganda — 25+ mailers, nonstop tv commercials for weeks on end, ever-present online ads in news feeds, constant social media ads — just to finish a distant second. At least five different Trenton-based special-interest PACs funded the DeCroce bailout.
Perhaps it was the exposure of DeCroce’s serial self-dealing — the ugly facts of her public profiteering revealed by her opponents had to cut to the bone. No post-election attack on Webber will erase DeCroce’s unseemly record of trading tax hikes on her constituents in exchange for making her own public pension tax-free. Or that DeCroce raised the gas tax on us, while she gets her gas scot-free through her campaign account — funded, of course, by the very special interests who wanted the gas tax hike in the first place. Those are DeCroce liabilities that were masked by the massive special interest spending in the primary, but that also will last long past June 2017.
Or perhaps it was the humiliation of not even winning in her hometown of Parsippany, or her embarrassing failure in Rockaway Township, the place she touted as her childhood home. Rejections like those from her hometowns would cause anger in many of us, but that anger does not justify her continuing assaults.
On her way to “winning,” DeCroce didn’t just humiliate herself, she hurt her Party. DeCroce’s scorched-earth campaign was the only one of the four in the primary to attack all three of the other candidates. She also cheapened the Republican brand, with her exposure as both a tax-raiser and a self-dealer. The ripple effects played out in West Milford, where DeCroce nearly cost the Passaic GOP’s endorsed council candidates the nomination, as she caused hundreds of conservatives to flee the Passaic line before they could vote for town council. That debacle should be an abject lesson of the damage DeCroce has done to Republicans and could continue to do if she persists in her post-election rampage.
This constituent says that DeCroce should concentrate her attention on helping other Republicans for the Fall General Election, not continuing her venomous attacks against them.