Morris Township is expected to nominate Donna Guariglia, president of the Morristown Area League of Women Voters, to fill a vacant seat on the township committee next week, holding a special election in November against a Republican who attended the protest of the January 6 in the United States. Capitol.
An agenda released by Morris Township lists Guariglia as the choice of the remaining township committee members to replace Tara Olivo-Moore, who resigned in July after just seven months in office and moved to Massachusetts.
Republicans have chosen Sherry Nardolillo, a political newcomer who has made false claims about the results of the 2020 presidential election, as their candidate.
Guariglia was selected over two other candidates presented by the local Democratic county committee, Jen Carcich and Siva Jonnada.
“Donna is someone who has deep roots in our community and has demonstrated her long-term commitment to Morris Township,” Mayor Mark Gyorfy told The New Jersey Globe. “Our residents can rest assured that they will be served by an independent, qualified thinker who will always represent their best interests.”
Guariglia is the daughter of the late Robert Peacock, former Deputy Banking Commissioner and Democratic leader. As a first-time candidate at age 32 in 1960, Peacock won 3,826 votes against freshman Rep. George M. Wallhauser (R-Maplewood), a margin of 50% to 48%. In a rematch two years later, Peacock won 47%.
Democrats have a 4-1 majority on the township committee and are seeking to unseat the only 85-year-old Republican, Peter Mancuso. He faces a Jeff Grayzel, the first Democrat to serve as mayor of Morris Township and running for a fourth consecutive term. Mancuso, a former mayor who has served on the township committee on and off since 1978, won the Gluegate election three years ago by eight votes.
Nardolillo and her husband contributed $11,600 to Phil Rizzo’s unsuccessful campaign for Congress in the 7th District and $500 to Toby Anderson’s run for Congress in the 11th District. She also donated to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) and U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) this year. In 2021, she contributed $3,000 to Rizzo’s gubernatorial campaign.
Rizzo’s candidate for a special election convention for the State Assembly in the 12th Legislative District got smoked on Thursday night. Domenick Cuozzo, a pastor and member of the Plumsted Township committee, won just 29% of the vote in a race to take the seat of late MP Ronald Dancer (R-Plumsted).
The Morristown Green report identified Nardolillo, who grew up in Clark, as secretary of Mom is for Liberty Morris County Chapter. The group, the report says, opposes school mask and vaccine mandates, opposes the Critical Race Theory gender curriculum, and wants to ban certain books from school libraries.
That might be a tough sell in Morris Township, a former GOP stronghold that tipped Democratic in the recent election.
Governor Phil Murphy carried Morris Township by a margin of 54% to 45% in 2021; Democratic candidates for Legislature and County Commissioner also won. In 2020, Joe Biden took Morris Township by a margin of 61% to 36%, with U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) winning 59% and 50%, respectively.