State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, 26th District Asm. Jay Webber, Mayor James Barberio and other area Republican leaders gathered Tuesday night at the old Rescue and Recovery building on Centerton Drive for a necessary Election Day ritual: counting the votes.
Just a little over an hour past the 8 p.m. poll closing, the count was in. Parsippany Councilman and freeholder candidate John Cesaro and his ticketmates former Washington Township Councilman John Krickus and former Mount Olive Mayor David Scapicchio easily bested their challengers for the GOP nomination, among them incumbent Freeholder William Chegwidden. Township-wide victories were also evident for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, U.S. Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos and General Assembly candidate Asw. BettyLou DeCroce.
Those at the end of the night, with Cesaro ending up as the top vote-getter overall in the freeholder primary.
That was not known, however, when he spoke before the party faithful Tuesday night.
Cesaro thanked his wife, son Jake and his parents, along with his Town Council colleagues and Mayor Barberio. The candidate also gave a significant thanks to Sen. Pennacchio.
"You have been my teacher and my mentor," he said to the state senator. "Thank you for everything you've done for me."
Cesaro chalked up the solid showings of area Republicans to party unity.
"In the past 2 1/2 years we have become a unified party," he said. "It's made all the difference, and it will help us stand up for taxpayers in the future."
Cesaro also implored those present to attend next Tuesday's GOP convention, which will be held at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany at 7 p.m. The purpose of the gathering is to select a replacement for outgoing .
Cesaro is seen as a frontrunner in the race to win the privilege of serving out the remaining six months of Feyl's term on the freeholder board.