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Ocean County Commissioner candidate Dr. Phil Nufrio. (Photo: Facebook).

Ocean Democrats set to replace county commissioner candidate

By David Wildstein, September 09 2021 9:54 am

Ocean County Democrats are expected to certify the selection of political newcomer Catherine Paura as their new candidate for county commissioner.  She will replace Rita Kopacz, who won the Democratic primary but withdrew from the race on August 22.

The deadline to replace candidates is 4 PM today.

Paura will join Dr. Phil Nufrio on the general election ticket against Republicans Gary Quinn and Bobbi Jo Crea.

Democrats have not won a countywide election in Ocean County since 1989, when Paul Brush and Mark Troncone easily ousted veteran incumbents George Buckwald and Damian Murray.   They won on the coattails of Democrat Jim Florio, who carried Ocean County by 14 points in his run for governor, and by Buckwald’s support of a controversial trash incinerator in Ocean Township.

A former Lacey mayor, Quinn is seeking re-election to his second term on the Ocean County Board of Commissioners.  His running mate is Bobbi Jo Crea, a Little Egg Harbor township committeewoman and former mayor.

Crea is seeking to replace Gerry Little, who is not seeking reelection after 18 years in county government.  If she wins, she will become just the third woman to hold the county commissioner/freeholder post in the 171-year history of county government.  It would also be the first time two women serve together, joining Commissioner Virginia Haines.

Ocean County has 68,156 more Republicans than Democrats.  Donald Trump won Ocean by a 64%-35% margin over Joe Biden in 2020.

A biography of Paura was not immediately available.

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