The New Jersey Globe projects that Republicans have won control of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, a result that shifts political power from the South Jersey Democratic machine to State Sen. Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland), the GOP county chairman.
The re-election of Republican Douglas Albrecht and the defeat of Democrat Darlene Barber flips the county commission to 4-3 Republican. This locks the GOP into a majority for the next two years; Democrats won’t have a chance to regain control until 2024.
As of 11:46 p.m., Albrecht and Republican Victoria “Tori” Groetsch-Lods (both 28%) lead Barber and the other Democratic candidate, Priscilla Ocasio- Jiménez (both 22%).
Republicans have been out of power in Cumberland County since 2012, when a brief one-year reign ended.
The GOP candidates were boosted by Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who is leading in Cumberland County by more than 13 percentage points in his bid for a third term in Congress. Van Drew’s coattail had helped Democrats win countywide races while he served in the state legislature.
Groetsch-Lods, a former chief of staff to State Sen. Nicholas Asselta (R-Vineland), is winning her first public office on her fourth try. She lost freeholder races in 2017 and 2020 and county clerk in 2019.
Republicans positioned themselves for a control election in 2021 when they flipped two seats, reducing the Democratic majority from 6-1 to 4-3.
Albrecht, a tire dealer and a Vineland councilman from 2008 to 2012, was elected freeholder in 2019.
A former superintendent of the Cumberland County Technical Education Center, Barber was elected freeholder in 2013 and was re-elected in 2016 and 2019.
Ocasio- Jiménez, a school administrator, lost a bid for county commissioner last year. Republicans Antonio Romero and Joseph Sileo defeated Ocasio- Jiménez and her running mate, three-term incumbent Joseph Derella, Jr.