Only three spots are up for grabs on the Morris County freeholder board this year but ten candidates have their names in the race. Of those ten, seven are Republicans who will be duking it out to get their party’s nomination during the June 7 primary.
Former Freeholder John Krickus, running without a slate, is the latest Republican to throw his name in the mix. He will be facing off against two full slates: incumbents Tom Mastrangelo, Doug Cabana and Kathy DeFillippo, running as Team Morris, and challengers Parsippany Councilman Lou Valori, Peter King and Randolph Mayor Roman Hirniak, running as Morris United.
For Krickus, who served on the freeholder board from 2012 to 2015 until last year’s messy primary kicked him off the final Republican ticket, the move is about bringing a “true conservative” option to Morris County.
“I want to provide a real, conservative choice to the Republican voters because my platform is about no tax increases, streamlining government and less regulation,” Krickus said. “Where I saw the incumbents… just raised taxes three and a half percent. Spending just went up 11 million.”
While Krickus lost last year, he said that that is partially attributable to the lack of high-profile elections that did not draw voters to the polls.
“I don’t want to see policies in Morris County change because of what was an unusual election year like that and I want to give people another option to choose a conservative path,” Krickus said.
Last year, Krickus and his team took issue with the John Cesaro team’s connection to the Democratic Party-affiliated political action committee (PAC), Forward Central Jersey. According to Krickus, he still believes that connections to PACs allow for too much special interest influence. He said that he would not be working with PACs or special interest groups in this election.
“I think it is very surprising that both teams, the incumbents and the challengers, started their campaigns in February or even earlier by meeting with the political director of the Carpenter’s Union and with Democratic Assemblyman Troy Singleton who is associated with the Carpenters Union,” Krickus said. “That is something that I feel is really new in Morris County. Where Republicans start their campaigns off by meeting with big union labor bosses.”
The Carpenters Union, local 254, has endorsed the incumbents.
“There has really been a firestorm of opposition by the grassroots,” Krickus said. “That really convinced me that if I wasn’t in this race, the union labor PACs would win. I am not interested in those types of policies that cost taxpayers extra money for a special interest piece of legislation.”
Last year, Krickus and his team had the support of state Senator Anthony Bucco and Morris Republican Chairman John Sette. When asked this year if he thought he would get similar support, Krickus said that was “not a main part” of his strategy.
“It is very late in the game to do the endorsement thing,” Krickus said. “My main part of my strategy is getting my message out and moving forward with the grassroots.”
Krickus filed to run in April. While he said he understands the challenges of the shortened timeline and the lack of support from a slate, he still believes there is a way he can win due to his ties across Morris County and the public’s general concern about taxes.
The Democrats running for the spot are Mitchell Horn of Montville, John Von Achen of Parsippany and Rozella Clyde of Chatham.