Six-term Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford faces an unlikely opponent in the June Republican primary: Paterson PBA president Steven Olimpio, who backed Jon Corzine for re-election last year and now opposes the new pension reform law advocated by Gov. Christopher Christie. It will be interesting to see how a pension reform opponent and public employee advocate (he’s been highly critical of budget-related layoffs by Paterson Mayor Joey Torres) does among GOP primary voters in Christie’s home county.
Olimpio switched parties after mounting an unsuccessful campaign for Kinnelon Councilman as a Democrat in 2009. When he announced his challenge to Rochford, he pledged to raise $200,000 – and told the Daily Record that he’d already brought in half that. According to reports he filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission four days later, Olimpio had brought in $34,100 – 84% of the money from outside Morris County. He’s already spent more than half of that, including $3,000 on campaign t-shirts. Olimpio took a $20,000 contribution from TeleBrands, but returned $17,400 – perhaps the Paterson detective realized the legal limit was $2,600.
One potential problem for Olimpio: he has announced that Paul Carifi Jr., a Morris County Sheriff’s Department sergeant from Parsippany and a member of his campaign team, would be his undersheriff if he wins. Surely Olimpio knows that state law strictly prohibits offering someone a job while campaigning.