Bye, bye Republicans

The two-party system in Essex and Mercer county governments came to a close this week, with Democrats taking over the last GOP posts. Democrat Linda Lordi Cavanaugh was sworn in an Essex County Freeholder after defeating incumbent Muriel Shore in the November general election. Cavanaugh won a district Freeholder seat that had been under Republican control since Monroe Jay Lustbader ousted Renee Lane in 1981. The new Mercer County Clerk is Paula Sollami-Covello, who narrowly defeated two-term incumbent Catherine DiCostanzo. In Essex, Democrats now have a 9-0 majority on the Freeholder Board (there has been two Republican Freeholders as recently as 2002), and control every constitutional office. Democrat Joseph DiVincenzo looks like a strong bet for re-election as County Executive in 2006; the GOP held this post from 1995 to 2003. With the retirement of Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano, Essex Republicans will have just one office above the municipal level: Assemblyman Kevin O’Toole. In Mercer, Democrats have a 7-0 majority on the Freeholder Board and control every constitutional office. The County Clerk’s job had been under GOP control for twenty years.

Bye, bye Republicans