Fantasia, Hertzberg launch freeholder run

By David Danzis New Jersey Herald

Posted: Feb. 11, 2018 12:01 am

Two Republican municipal elected officials are going forward with their campaign to run for seats on the Sussex County freeholder board, and the duo already has the backing of three state lawmakers and the county sheriff.

Franklin Borough Council President Dawn Fantasia and Sparta Mayor Josh Hertzberg announced on Friday that they would be filing the necessary paperwork this week to begin a joint campaign for two, three-year terms on the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The announcement from Fantasia and Hertzberg also stated that state Sen. Steven Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblyman Hal Wirths -- three Republicans who represent the 24th Legislative District -- and Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada would be hosting a fundraising event for the campaign.

Oroho, a former county freeholder and Franklin Borough council member, said he has known Fantasia and Hertzberg for a number of years.

"I like their career experiences, community service, and energetic styles," he said on Saturday via text. "I look forward to them bringing new ideas, a fresh perspective, their fiscal discipline and transparency to the freeholder board."

Wirths said he worked with Fantasia and Hertzberg during his 2017 campaign and came away with a sense that the two would be good representatives for Sussex County. Wirths, who spent close to a decade on the freeholder board before being appointed state labor commissioner in 2010, said the duo possessed a trait that he felt was important at the county level.

"They listen to the people," Wirths said of Fantasia and Hertzberg.

"To be a good freeholder you have to listen to the people, listen to the great staff the county has. There's a lot of tough issues facing the county and I think they can move some of that behind us."

Space, who also served on the freeholder board after being appointed to the seat vacated by Wirths in 2010, lent his support to Fantasia and Hertzberg on Saturday.

"I am supporting Dawn and Josh because I have witnessed their dedication to their residents in their respective towns," Space said via email. "They have strong conservative values and the drive to help the taxpayers of Sussex County. While Governor (Phil) Murphy has promised to raise taxes on the already suffering people of New Jersey, I know Dawn Fantasia and Josh Hertzberg will do what they can to ease that burden in our county."

Fantasia and Hertzberg will be running in the Republican primary against two incumbents, Sussex County Freeholder Director Jonathan Rose and Freeholder Carl Lazzaro, who ran together in 2015.

On Saturday, Rose said neither the entry of challengers into the race nor who supports them will change the campaign he and Lazzaro are going to run.

"It impacts the race insofar as it shows early in the race whose side everyone is on," he said. Rose later added, "We're going to run a race based on our accomplishments and we're not going to forget that we hold these seats thanks to the electorate, not thanks to political insiders."

Lazzaro echoed his running mate's sentiments and said their campaign would be focused on the positives that have been accomplished in the last three years, such as the hiring of a qualified county administrator, consolidating county departments to cut costs and executing labor contracts with county employees that keep salaries and benefits under control.

"We've done a lot of great things," he said.

"We're going to run a positive campaign based on that."

The deadline for Republican and Democrats to file for the Primary Election is April 2.

New Jersey's primary elections will be held on June 5.

David Danzis can also be contacted on Facebook: ddanzisNJH, on Twitter: @ddanzisNJH, or by phone: 973-383-1274.