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Former Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford. (Photo: New Jersey League of Municipalities.)

Langford mulls another bid for Atlantic City mayor

Out of office for 7 years, ex-Mayor tells friends he might take on popular incumbent

By David Wildstein, January 21 2021 12:05 am

Former Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford is considering a run for the post he held before losing re-election in 2013, telling friends that he might take on incumbent Marty Small in the 2021 Democratic primary.

“My impetus for considering a comeback is not predicated on personal affronts or side issues,” the 65-year-old Langford said in a letter.. “I am not infatuated with the limelight, nor am I drawn to the position of mayor for the perceived celebrity status.  However, there is no one I trust more than me to govern with integrity and fairness.”

Small won a special election in 2020, scoring large pluralities in the primary (64%-31%) and general elections (70%-30%).  He ran with the support of Langford, as well as Gov. Phil Murphy and U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker. 

A former casino dealer and pit boss, Langford first won a city council seat in 1992 and lost races for mayor in 1993 and 1997. 

In 2001, Langford challenged Mayor James Whelan and beat him by seven points.  Absentee ballots made the difference in the outcome of the race.

He lost the 2005 Democratic primary to Bob Levy, a former chief lifeguard and Whelan administration official.  At some point in 2007, Levy mysteriously disappeared and resigned after embellishing his military record.

Langford won a 2008 special election for an unexpired term and defeated Small in 2009.  He was defeated for re-election by Republican Don Guardian in 2013.

“The mayor’s seat does not belong to anyone, including me,” Langford said. “It belongs to the people.  Every four years, a vacancy arises and anyone has the right to apply for the position.”

Small won the seat of Frank Gilliam, who resigned in October 2019 after pleading guilty to wire fraud for stealing $87,000 from a youth basketball program he ran.

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