Political newcomer William “Hank” Lyon was sworn in as a Republican Morris County freeholder Saturday after winning a court-ordered special convention.
Lyon will serve in this seat until the end of the year.
An election will be held in November to fill remainder of the 3-year term. Also up for grabs in that general election ballot are three freeholder seats now held by incumbents Gene Feyl, Bill Chegwidden and John Murphy.
Former freeholder Jack Schrier welcomed Lyon.
"We wish him the very best, especially as the Freeholder Board is now in a state of major reorganization, with even more to come in June," Schrier said.
Saturday’s convention was ordered by a state appeals court in February when it removed incumbent Margaret Nordstrom from office.
The appeals court undid incumbent Margaret Nordstrom's 2011 primary race win—itself the end-result of a lengthy process that involved multiple recounts, a multifaceted legal challenge, and an earlier court-ordered GOP convention to pick a nominee. The court said, though, while it could remove Nordstrom from office, it could not pick a winner of the primary.
This weekend, Lyon, 24, of Montville defeated Edward France of Morristown 265 to 40 votes. Madison Councilman Charles Germanhausen, who had filed notice that he would run in the special convention, withdrew Friday night. Lyon had been Nordstrom's opponent in the 2011 primary.
Nordstrom, following her removal from office, said that she would not run in the new special convention, nor put her name up for nomination for the remainder of the seat in the June primary.
Following the vote, Lyon was sworn into office by Morris County Clerk Joan Bramhall in the lobby of the Zeris Inn, where the convention was held.
His first freeholder meeting is Wednesday.
Lyons said he was grateful for the voters' support. He said he will focus on the debt that government’s have incurred.
“When I was campaigning, I spoke about government debt,” he said. “Governments have a lot of debt. “
Lyon said that when he told a voter he was concerned the country’s debt would force many changes in 20 years, the voter corrected him.
“He said the changes would come in five years,” Lyon said.
While Lyon has been seated, challenges to the appeals court ruling are pending, including one by Democrat Truscha Quatrone, the Democratic Party candidate defeated last November by Nordstrom. Quatrone has claimed that since Nordstrom’s election was invalidated by the appeals court, she was the only legitimate freeholder candidate on the November ballot.
Lyon also asked the court to consider whether, since it invalidated Nordstrom’s election, it should declare him the winner of the full 4-year seat.
Rulings are expected soon.
Also hanging over the election is the charge made by Nordstrom in her lawsuit following her 2011 primary defeat, a claim that Lyon was the recipient of an illegal $16,000 campaign donation made by his father Robert Lyon just days before the primary vote.
That donation was not reported to the Election Law Enforcement Commission until after the vote.
Nordstrom claimed in her suit that the donation exceeded the limits for a personal contribution, and that because it was not reported as required by law, it had a negative impact on her candidacy. Because previous election finance filings showed that Lyon little cash on hand, Nordstrom said, she canceled a last minute mailing.
ELEC has not issued a ruling on the issue.