Special Republican Convention to choose Vacant Freeholder Seat

Morris County Freeholder Heather Darling, Tayfun Selen, Chatham Township Municipal Chair, Senator Anthony Bucci, Jr., and Butler Municipal Chair Marc Piccirillo

MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Republican Committee Vice Chair Laura Marie Ali announced a special Republican convention on Saturday, February 1, to fill the one-year unexpired term on the Morris County Freeholder board.

The seat was vacated when Heather Darling became Morris County Surrogate on January 1, 2020.

There are eight candidates looking to fill Darling’s seat — including former Chatham Township Mayor Tayfun Selen, former Madison Borough Councilman Robert Catalanello, Pompton Lakes Councilman Christian Barranco, former Morristown Councilwoman Alison Deeb, Parsippany GOP County Committeeman Thomas J. DeLorenzo, Pequannock Councilwoman Melissa Florance-Lynch, Mary Gallagher of Mount Olive, and former Long Hill Township Committeeman Bruce Meringolo.

The February 1 convention will start at 9:00 a.m. in the Davidson Room, County College of Morris, 214 Center Grove Road, Randolph Township.

Former Morris County Freeholder and Parsippany Councilman John Cesaro, who lost his freeholder re-election bid last year with running mate and now state Assemblywoman Aura Dunn of Mendham. He was considered the front runner for the freeholder appointment but dropped out of the race after he was one of five officials charged Thursday, December 19, with taking thousands of dollars in bribes.

Morris County Surrogate Heather Darling and Senator Joseph Pennacchio

The vacancy on the seven-member Freeholder board occurred after Darling, a Republican from Roxbury Township, resigned on December 31, 2019 to accept the five-year position of Morris County Surrogate, a post she won over Democratic candidate Michael Thompson.

Her freeholder term expires on December 31, 2020.

Darling, a 43-year Morris County resident, was in her second year on the freeholder board but ran for surrogate because veteran Surrogate John Pecoraro retired after 25 years of service. She is principal of the Darling Law Firm LLC, which she founded, and is president of her father’s real estate business.