Frelinghuysen Victorious, Morris County Republicans Take Easy Wins
Incumbent Congressman nets nearly 70 percent of vote.
Incumbent Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen easily won re-election Tuesday night and will return to his 11th District Congressional seat.
His Democratic challenger, Douglas Herbert, acknowledged his defeat watching televised returns at the Morris County Democratic Committee's headquarters in Morristown Tuesday night.
"It looks like 30 [percent of the vote] is the number we're going to go with," Herbert said.
Also in the race was Libertarian Jim Gawron, who earned a very small percentage of the vote.
"I'm happy to be re-elected to the Republican party, humbled by re-election," Frelinghuysen said at the GOP gathering at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany.
Frelinghuysen, who was elected for a ninth term, acknowledged the economy's impact on area residents.
"We know from our family, friends and neighbors a lot about the atmosphere out there," he said. "I think they didn't like the change their president represented. I don't think they like the policies in the health care reform and everything else. We have a governor who is making very tough decisions. ... Too many New Jersey residents are moving to the south to escape the burdensome property taxes."
Morris County voters also chose from a slate of freeholder candidates (three from each party), each seeking a three-year term. And they chose between incumbent Republican Sheriff Edward V. Rochford and challenger Democrat Mark Dombroswki.
Republican freeholder candidate Douglas Cabana garnered 81,582 (22.14 percent), while running mates Ann Grossi had 81,351 (22.09 percent) and Tom Mastrangelo earned 80,407 (21.84 percent) for a GOP sweep.
"If you look at tonight's numbers, it just goes to the testament that Morris County Republicans are doing a good job," Cabana said. "We had a message and it was to maintain the services and tax rates everyone wants. "It was going to be about voter turnout and we were always confident the residents are going to return the Republicans to office. The high turnout shows the voters are pleased with the Republicans."
Grossi was also pleased with voter turnout on Tuesday.
"I think it says the people are happy with the job the freeholders do. They are looking to protect their Conservative ideals of small government," she said. "The general elections seemed to be anti-climatic, and people kept telling me you're going to win, you're going to win. I never take it for granted and always operate as if I'm coming from behind. I am just thrilled that all the hard work has paid off. ... The biggest task in Morris County is reduce spending, and create an economic plan that retains business and attracts new business."
Mastrangelo was "very ecstatic" about the victory.
"I'm very ecstatic. It's been a long, amazing journey, especially with me being new as a political candidate," he said. "I'm very happy for myself, and am looking forward to serving Morris County and making it better than it already is."
Mastrangelo said the biggest challenge will be finding a way to manage the 2 percent tax cap.
"Frankly, we've got to find a way to do that," he said. "It's got to be necessary spending and finding out what is above and beyond [the cap] and what can be delivered by the county. The mentality within the state says people are looking for real change. They are not looking for government as usual. They want their pockets affected in a positive way. They are looking for good services but not to spend their kids' college education fund."
John Murphy, a Republican Morris County Freeholder from Morris Township who was not up for re-election this year, said, "We're very pleased."
"The [Republican] organization worked very hard to make sure our message got out," he said. "The electorate recognized what they want to see in Morris County. I've seen the work that's gone into trying to deliver a good product at a decent price. (The biggest challenges include) the fiscal issues. The budget. How do we deliver programs at a reasonable price? How do we keep taxes down? How do we deal with rising healthcare and pension costs (for public workers)?"
Democrat Steven J. Reichenstein received 41,724 votes (11.33 percent), while running mates Avery Ann Hart had 42,214 (11.46 percent) and Elliot Isibor received 39,778 (10.80 percent).
"I think we offered a very good plan and option to the voters," Reichenstein said. "I feel good about what we've done. I enjoyed the campaign."
Hart said the Democrats' "web is growing. It's just a matter of time."
Rochford garnered 84,967 votes (67.39 percent) for county sheriff. Dombrowski earned 40,951 (32.48 percent) votes.
"I have a very good agency and Morris County is a great community to work in, and I get a lot of support from our Freeholder Board," Rochford said. "My team worked very hard. We don't take anything for granted. There has never been a Democrat Sheriff in Morris County, but we still go out and campaign very hard."
While waiting for the candidates to arrive at the Birchwood Manor earlier in the night, Republican supporters discussed their opinions on this year's election.
"There's no question it's going to go straight Republican. It's no contest," said Linda Giresi, a Union County resident who is a registered voter in Florida (voted via absentee ballot there). She is also among the founding members of the Morristown Tea Party Movement.
"I think we are in step with most of the country," she added. "I think we have a very strong Tea Party movement here. You hear people from all walks of life [in the Tea Party movement]. People are sick and tired of business as usual and they want to get back to Constitutional value. We've got to get back to basics."
William Baer, a resident of Harding Township, which Frelinghuysen also calls home, wasn't quite sure how the election would turn out.
"I'm not sure," he said. "All the polls are indicating that it should be a good night for the Republican Party. Not much has come in from NJ. ... Many of these people are grassroots people. They are interested in the state of the country, not just New Jersey. A lot of it, many of the people are Republicans.
"The changes we are anticipating go beyond the political party. It's fundamentals of the Constitution. I know that the Federal government is not abiding by the Constitution. The Constitution grants limited powers and they have exceeded its powers. They are infringing on the rights of the state and the rights of the people."
Daniel Haggerty, a Morristown resident, called the election a "wakeup call" for the Republican party.
"This is a wakeup call, but if Republicans take this for granted, they are making a big mistake," he said.
"Republicans need to listen to what the Tea Party wants or they will be abandoned. ... One of my big issues is school choice. I don't think government schools should have a monopoly on education. There's no reason you should be forced to send your child to a government school. You should be able to take that portion of your tax money and spend it where you want."
At the Morris County Democratic Committee's Headquarters in Morristown, underdog Herbert called the race "bittersweet."
"I've worked with these people for six months and I'm sad to see it end," Herbert said.
Democrats gathered with Herbert cheered at televised reports that Christine O'Donnell will lose to Democrat Chris Coons in the Delaware Senate race.
Chip Robinson, chair of the Morris County Democratic Committee, said it's always an uphill battle for Democrats running in heavily Republican Morris County.
"But it's worth it because it's a good fight. ... We are making gains. It's not as fast as we want it to be, but we are getting there," he said.
Results are posted below.
House of Representatives, 11th Congressional District (545 of 546 precincts reporting):
|Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R)*||122,036
|Douglas Herbert (D)||55,421
|Jim Gawron (Libertarian)||4,163
Board of Chosen Freeholders of Morris County (all precincts reporting):
|Douglas Cabana (R)*
|Ann Grossi (R)
|Avery Ann Hart (D)||42,214||11.46|
|Elliot Isibor (D)||39,778||10.80|
|Tom Mastrangelo (R)||80,407||21.84|
|Steve J. Reichenstein (D)||41,724||11.33|
Morris County Sheriff (all precincts reporting):
|Mark Dombrowski (D)
|Edward V. Rochford (R)*