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GOP: Nordstrom Is Freeholder Candidate

Incumbent narrowly defeats challenger who had narrowly defeated her in primary tallies.

Incumbent Morris County Freeholder Margaret Nordstrom will once again be her party's nominee in the November general election.

Nordstrom won the nomination 213-208 in a special GOP county committee election Monday night, narrowly defeating challenger William "Hank" Lyon. The victory was a reversal from just a few months ago, when the 23-year-old Lyon appeared to narrowly defeat Nordstrom in a primary election that has since been overturned.

Monday night's election by the Morris County Republican Committee was ordered by Superior Court Judge Thomas Weisenbeck last week, following a three-week trial. Nordstrom had contested Lyon's apparent 4-vote win (after recounts) in the June primary, saying the race was tainted by voter fraud and a campaign donation that hadn't been properly reported.

The vote will allow the Morris County clerk's office to meet legal deadlines for getting general election ballots printed.

Lyon of Montville has filed an appeal of Weisenbeck's verdict, which is expected to be heard on an expedited basis by an appeals panel in Trenton. He expressed confidence Monday he would win the appeal.

As things stand now, Nordstrom of Washington Township will face Democrat Truscha Quatrone of Montville in the general election.

After Monday's vote, Nordstrom said the winner of the process was the state of New Jersey.

"This means that the [Election Law Enforcement Commission] rules have teeth," she said. Every candidate and campaign taking part in the fall election should pay attention to the judge's decision, she said.

Lyon, in a strident, impassioned speech prior to the vote, said, "This is the most important day of my 23 years."

The arguments presented in the nomination and seconding speeches echoed the points made by Nordstrom and Lyon themselves. Supporters of the former said the election was tainted by illegal votes in Parsippany, and by a $16,000 contribution made by Lyon's father and campaign treasurer, Robert Lyon, that hadn't been properly reported. Supporters of latter said no previous New Jersey election had ever been voided by a judge, and that the vote by the Republican committee, while legal, deprived the voters of their say in the election.

County Chairman John Sette reminded the committee members before the vote that under state law, the judge was within his rights to turn the election over to the committee.

That was the point of Sam Morris of Mine Hill, who nominated Lyon.

"If this election is overturned," Morris said, "you are saying that those four votes don't count."

Lyon repeated that message, declaring that the committee was voting on the matter because "an unelected judge" made a ruling that the election was void.

Lyon said Wesenbeck did not have the authority to overturn the election; the same argument is the basis of his appeal. He said Deputy Attorney General Alan C. Stephens filed two legal briefs that support that position.

Nordsrom and Washington Township Mayor Ken Short, who placed Nordstrom's name in nomination, said Republicans abide by the rule of law.

Nordstrom said that if Lyon had been on the short end of the 4-vote margin, he, too, would have appealed the outcome.

She said his father violated the state's campaign finance laws, by exceeding  campaign contribution limits by thousands of dollars, and by not reporting the contribution as required by law. Defending her campaign against such action was required, she said.

"This is [what] I believe I stand for, this is what Morris County stands for, and this is what the Republican Party stands for," she said.

Former Morris Freeholder Jim Murray, who upset a popular incumbent to win his one-term on the board, said that all candidates have to abide by the law when they are running for office.

anybodybutchristie September 20, 2011 at 05:08 AM
"Nordstrom and Washington Township Mayor Ken Short, who placed Nordstrom's name in nomination, said Republicans abide by the rule of law." If this is true, why did Ken Short receive a letter from ELEC detailing noncompliance with ELEC filing rules when he served as Jim Harmon's campaign treasurer in 2008? The answer is simple. Short is a hypocrite.
MadInNJ September 20, 2011 at 05:59 AM
Sadly, in politics, it's "do as I say," not "as I do."
Thomas Lotito September 20, 2011 at 10:59 AM
Isn't that irrelevant to the current situation Kevin?
Beach Mover September 20, 2011 at 11:56 AM
There is a new antibullying law for “children’s” use of the internet, some adults should also abide by it.
Maxim Sapozhnikov September 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Who would have thought that I'd wish a Montville Democrat to win an election...
Ron Swanson September 20, 2011 at 01:47 PM
Nordstrom is a disgrace. While Lyons' campaign should have been fined for the reporting violation, to invalidate the primary vote is outrageous. A lot of Republicans in Morris County come Election Day will be sitting on their hands and won't vote for her. Lyons should focus on the next Freeholder campaign and give the next batch of entitled establishment babies the boot.
caveat emptor September 20, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Here's one less Republican vote in November.
Kathy September 20, 2011 at 02:11 PM
The voters spoke and still no one listened. What country am I living in?! I will be writing in my vote for Lyon come election time.
PatienceWorth September 20, 2011 at 02:47 PM
I've been told that the only major ELEC question in Washington Township was for a council race by a Democrat named Nedd, who got wiped out by the largest margin in Morris County history, and is now a convicted criminal and recluse. See what happens when you ignore ELEC laws?
Beach Mover September 20, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Not really sure either about the Nedd story but I think he has retired from politics and giving his opinion. On ward to better things for him I assume.
rick watson September 20, 2011 at 03:05 PM
Margaret is an outstanding public servant, a living advertisement against the concept of term limits, and I'm glad she prevailed in the long run. There are many of us among her friends who would have done a lot more in the primary had we known it would be close. Shame on us; it just goes to show that you can't take anything for granted. Rick Watson, former Mayor, Morris Twp
anybodybutchristie September 20, 2011 at 04:30 PM
How can the FACT Ken Short was once cited by ELEC be irrelevant in this situation? This is a classic example of hypocrisy. Margaret could had chosen anyone to nominate her. It's bad judgement she chose a hypocrite.
Beach Mover September 20, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Thank you "anybodybutchristie" we got your point. It is too bad we do not know who you are to have a real discussion.
MadInNJ September 20, 2011 at 07:20 PM
ABC = Kevin Nedd. And you can take that to the bank.
Karin Swenson Szotak September 20, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Mr. Watson, you certainly will have your opportunity to make up for it in the next 2 months. I believe you and all her friends will have your work cut out for you. Truly, I would be very surprised to see her win, but then again, stranger things have happened!
Maxim Sapozhnikov September 20, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Either Nordstrom wins, or they'll sue until she does. Now, if only we could lend that judge to Minnesota Election Board...
Dan Grant September 20, 2011 at 09:44 PM
I happened to run into Hank and his dad last night after the convention. I had thought he might get run over by the machine but he actually did quite well. I am politically opposed to him but I think he was treated unfairly. Candidates often handle their paperwork incorrectly and get fined over it (myself included) but I don't believe I have ever seen an election overturned over it. He made a rookie mistake which I don't believe had any effect on the election. I have seen more experienced Republicans use bundeling to hide those kinds of contributions and use PACs to avoid the law. My fine came because they claimed I didn't file a form that said I wouldn't spend any money and I didn't. That was in an uncontested primary running against no one. I saw one very prominate Republican with a PAC get $20,000.00 from a developer in a Township where he had a vote on that developer's project. That didn't raise an eyebrow. This young man and his father had no interest except to do well in the election.
PatienceWorth September 20, 2011 at 11:32 PM
@ Dan. Are you kidding? How can you say what he did had no effect on the election? He hid a huge illegal donation and did a libelous mailing to 25,000 households on the eve of the election. The confession that you had an ELEC filing violation sounds like you are comparing a parking ticket to vehicular manslaughter. The fact that other people did something similar at some point in the past is some pretty sick moral reasoning, Hopefully they won't now and we will have fair elections. Disappointing post, Dan.
anybodybutchristie September 21, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Since when do you need to know who someone is to have a "real discussion"? Do we know who MadinNJ is? Do we know who PatienceWorth is? Do we know who caveat emptor is? How about RT124Guy? Or for that matter how about Scott Doucher? Yet another example of hypocrisy.
MadInNJ September 21, 2011 at 01:58 AM
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. Coo coo cachoo, baby
Alice Jameson September 21, 2011 at 02:05 AM
@ anybody: Quit your endless whinging. @ Mad: Pick a better song.
anybodybutchristie September 21, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Whining? I guess the truth hurts. Talk to Margaret about whining. I guess it worked for her!
Alice Jameson September 21, 2011 at 02:30 AM
I said WHINGING, not whining. Get some glasses.
anybodybutchristie September 21, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Alice, Whinging? I guess the truth hurts. Talk to Margaret about whinging. I guess it worked for her!
MadInNJ September 21, 2011 at 02:37 AM
Whinging IS the Proper English (as opposed to American English) equivalent of Whining. ABC - It's only whining when you lose!
Alice Jameson September 21, 2011 at 02:41 AM
Anybody: You're seeing hypocrites everywhere. It's always the same old song and it's gotten ever so boring. Take a good look in the mirror and you'll find the biggest hypocrite of them all.
anybodybutchristie September 21, 2011 at 02:51 AM
In this case we have Mayor Ken Short, a Republican elected official who stated "Republicans abide by the rule of law." Yet Short himself received a letter from ELEC citing him for his failure to comply with campaign finance reporting rules when he served as campaign treasurer for Jim Harmon in 2008. No matter how you may want to spin it, this is the very essence of HYPOCRICY!
Alice Jameson September 21, 2011 at 05:12 AM
How many times do I have to tell you to check a dictionary? If you’re going to label anyone and everyone a hypocrite, learn to spell the word hypocrisy. “There is none so blind as he who will not see.” — Anonymous
anybodybutchristie September 21, 2011 at 05:18 AM
I'm not labeling "everyone" a hypocrite. Just Ken Short, whose actions clearly fit the bill. If you don't agree, try defend his actions, as opposed to "whinging" about my misspellings!

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