Home>Campaigns>Donna Pearson wins race for Cumberland freeholder in Democratic sweep

Former Cumberland County Freeholder Donna M. Pearson

Donna Pearson wins race for Cumberland freeholder in Democratic sweep

Insurgent primary candidate will return to county government after a 17-year absence

By David Wildstein, November 17 2020 8:49 am

Democrats have swept all three seats on the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders, with Donna Pearson defeating Republican Victoria Lods by 2,463 votes.

Pearson returns the freeholder board following a 17-year absence after winning an off-the-line victory in the July Democratic primary.

Two other Democratic incumbents, Carol Musso and George Castellini, were also re-elected.

All vote-by-mail, provisional and machine votes have been counted, with just returned cure letters left to be tallied.  The deadline for cure letters is November 18.  Voter turnout in Cumberland was 72%.

Musso was the top vote-getter with 31,494 votes, followed by Castellini (31,363), Pearson (31,101), Lods (28,638), and Republicans Darwin Cooper (28,376) and Antonio Romero (27,663).

Pearson, a freeholder from 1998 to 2004, will take the seat of her one-time running mate, Jack Surrency.

Denied Democratic organization support for re-election, Surrency led an insurgent ticket in the primary that included Pearson and bracketed with Democratic congressional candidate Amy Kennedy.

Pearson defeated Millville Commissioner Bruce Cooper by a razor-thin 124 votes in the Democratic primary, while Surrency ran sixth, 1,033 votes behind his running mate.

A former mayor of Deerfield, Musso was first elected freeholder in 2011.  Castellini, a former Vineland police officer and Cumberland Sheriff’s officer, will start his second term as a freeholder in January

Democrats have a 6-1 majority on what will become the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners on January 1.

Joe Biden carried Cumberland by a 52%-46% margin again Donald Trump.  In the U.S. Senate race, Cory Booker carried the county, 53%-44%, against Republican Rik Mehta.

Kennedy won Cumberland in her unsuccessful bid to unseat party-switching Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis).  She took the county by 2,518 votes, 50.8% to 46.7%.

Democratic Sheriff Robert Austino was re-elected by a 53.5% to 46.4% margin over his GOP challenger, Michael Donato.

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