According to the New Jersey Globe, East Hanover Mayor Joseph Pannullo and all four members of the township council will switch from Democratic to Republican, signaling a total transformation in the township’s political landscape. Council President Frank DeMaio Jr., Councilwoman Carolyn Jandoli, and Councilmen Brian Brokaw Sr. and Michael Martorelli serve on the council.
“Municipal leaders have a responsibility to represent their constituents to the best of their ability and we believe this change of party will serve the community best,” said Pannullo. “As the negativity, rhetoric, and social media hostilities of national politics continue to impact local governance, we collectively believe that this change will help keep the focus on local issues such as fair-share housing mandates, stable taxes, improved parks, and public safety. Every decision my administration makes is about putting East Hanover first, and this is no exception.”
Morris County GOP Chair Laura Marie Ali credited Hanover Mayor Ace Gallagher for convincing the East Hanover officials to switch parties. “The Republican Party in Morris County welcomes Mayor Pannullo and the four council members to our family with open arms,” said Ali. “It is clear that we share the same values as the Mayor and his council, and we are excited to have them as part of our Republican family.”
Breaking: East Hanover Mayor Joe Pannullo and all four members of the Township Council are switching parties, from Democratic to Republican.
— David Wildstein (@wildstein) February 7, 2023
Sue Tietjen, a former councilwoman and current East Hanover Republican Municipal Chair, also greeted the incoming Republican authorities. “We will work together to advance East Hanover,” she stated.
Assistant Senate Minority Leader Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville), whose legislative district will soon encompass East Hanover, commended Ali and expressed enthusiasm about working with the new team. “Whether you’re a lifelong Republican or a transplanted Democrat like me, you’re instantly embraced and accepted in the Republican Party,” Pennacchio said.
Senate Minority Whip Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton) described the replacement of Pannullo and the council members a “huge victory for the Republican Party” and evidence of how out of touch the Democratic Party has become. “We welcome these well-known local leaders to our party as we expand,” Bucco said.
Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville), who aspires to represent East Hanover in the next two years, voiced his enthusiasm as well, saying, “the Morris GOP has fantastic momentum, and this transition is a great indication of our progress.”
Pannullo has been the mayor of East Hanover for 16 years, having won his first election after nine years as a councilman in 2007, upsetting incumbent Republican Mayor William Agnellino by about 400 votes. Despite the fact that Democrats have dominated the local political scene in recent years, East Hanover has shown support for Republicans in recent elections, with Republican Jack Ciattarelli receiving 74% of the vote in the 2021 Governor’s race against Phil Murphy, and Donald Trump receiving 66% in 2020.
“I want to commend Mayor Joseph Pannullo and the council members for making a decision that will best serve their constituents,” said Republican State Chairman Bob Hugin. “I also want to thank Morris County GOP Chair Laura Ali for helping to facilitate a warm welcome to our new partners.”