Morristown mayoral candidate Jim Gervasio doesn't know whether the presence of GOP gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie will help him as he attempts to disrupt Democratic Party rule in the county seat heart of Christie's home base.
"Ithink it's too early to tell," said Gervasio."Hopefully more Republicans would come out to vote than usual. Party loyalists will vote top to bottom, especially if it's a really close race. If he maintains his lead, he could help me. Would I campaign with him (Christie)? Absolutely."
Gervasio, a local businessman and Morristown Parking Authority commissioner,is in a contest with Zoning Board chair Tim Dougherty, who defeatedMayor Donald Cresitello in the Democratic Primary.
"My main issuesare taxes and safety and the impact of development on quality of life," said Gervasio, who does not believe Cresitello followed a transparent process while advancing numerous development projects in Morristown.
Asan initial Cresitello backer who helped getthe mayor elected four years ago, Dougherty ispart of the problem, as far as Gervasio's concerned.
"Cresitello appointed him ombudsman and they're part of the old-time Democratic machine and part of the Democratic Party's way of doing things," said Gervasio."His wife's thechair of the party and he's on the zoning board."
AMarine Coprs veteran who receivedthe Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for his service in the Vietnam War,Gervasio later taught school in Parsippany and opened his own T-shirt store in Morristown.
His family'slived in Morristown for 125 years. The candidate's father, Emilio Gervasio, 99,served two terms as mayor: from 1972 to 1976, and from 1980-1984.
Morris County GOP Chairman John Sette knows Gervasio is the underdog in a Democratic town, but pledged to give his party's candidate "whatever it takes" to defeat Dougherty and the Democrats.
"There are three freeholders running,Chris (Christie) isrunning, and you have theAssembly running, which means you're going to havelarge turnout in Morris County," said Sette."It's a winnable race. We're talking about an incumbent mayor whoborrowed $1.4 million for tax appeals.I think there's a lot of good issues in Morristown."
That incumbent isn't on the ballot, but like, Gervasio, Sette believes the fact that Dougherty was once a Cresitello backer and a mayoral appointee gives the GOP ample ammo.