William "Hank" Lyon said Wednesday he has heard there's a good chance he will be running unopposed when the Republican County Committee votes to fill a vacant seat previously held by Margaret Nordstrom, though he's still waiting to hear officially whether Nordstrom will be vying to return to the seat after an appellate court removed her from the position.
Nordstrom, a Long Valley resident, has cleaned out her office in the county administrative building and told the Observer-Tribune it's time to move on, according to the newspaper.
But Lyon, a Towaco resident, said he still hasn't heard from Nordstrom if she is bowing out of the contest. She previously said she would try to be returned to the seat at the convention. Nordstrom couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Truscha Quatrone, a Towaco resident who was on the ballot with Nordstrom in the general election, says the appellate court's decision means she should get the seat.
"I intend to pursue my legal rights in making sure that I am seated," Quatrone said Wednesday. Her attorney, Paul Bangiola, has said she is entitled to be appointed to the seat because Nordstrom wasn't legally the candidate for any party and Quatrone received the second highest number of votes.
Lyon said some people are suggesting the Republican Party somehow messed up the Republican primary, but he said the responsibility falls with the judge who, according to the appeals court, improperly overturned the results in the first place.
After a recount, Lyon had beaten Nordstrom, a four-term freeholder, last June by six votes. Nordstrom went to court and Superior Court Assignment Judge Thomas Weisenbeck tossed Lyon's victory based on alleged campaign finance violations and supposed voting irregularities.
That sent the question of who the GOP nominee should be to a convention and, among a group of 421 party faithful, Nordstrom won by five votes.
Nordstrom then beat Quatrone in November by about 18,000 votes while Lyon's ultimately successful appeal was underway.
Lyon said there's a sentiment among Republicans that it's time to move on and that the party should "coalesce around the person the people picked."
"I think it would be the best thing for the Republican party," Lyon said.
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