On Tuesday, several elected leaders in East Hanover, New Jersey, announced that they had switched their party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
The group included Mayor Joseph Pannullo, along with the entire township council. They made the decision following “months of good conversations” with Pannullo saying the decision is in the best interest of the community, according to the Daily Record.
Pannullo said that the decision comes in part as a result of “the nastiness, rhetoric and social media vitriol of national politics” and will help elected officials “focus on local issues impacting our community.”
Pannullo, council President Frank DeMaio and councilmembers Brian Brokaw, Carolyn Jandoli and Michael Martorelli all made the switch. Pannullo has represented the town of 11,000 people as mayor since 2007.
Morris County Republican Committee Chairwoman Laura Ali said that the party was “ecstatic” about the East Hanover switch. “The entire Republican Party in Morris County is welcoming Mayor Pannullo and East Hanover’s four council members to our family with open arms and great excitement!” she said.
In the GOP statement, Pannullo said his priorities would remain the same: “Combating the overburdening and unrealistic fair-share housing mandates, keeping taxes stable, enhancing our parks and investing in public safety needs to be our local priorities. Every decision my administration makes is about putting East Hanover first, this is no different.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic chairwoman of Morris County, Amalia Duarte, told the Daily Record that she was “disappointed” with the decision. “Of course, I am disappointed. … But, the real story is that Morris County is rapidly trending more Democratic, as we saw in the last election cycle. We won new municipal seats, flipped Morris Township to entirely Democratic and all of our incumbents were re-elected, including in East Hanover.”
State Assemblyman Brian Bergen praised the Morris County Republican Party, saying, it “has incredible momentum, and this is a great indication of our progress,” according to the Daily Record.
“Mayor Pannullo and his entire council are a great team, and we are glad to have them join us. 2023 will be a big year and this is just the beginning,” he concluded.
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