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Gina LaPlaca

LaPlaca, Natale advance as Dem Assembly candidates in 8th

Burlington Democratic screening committee recommends Hynes for freeholder

By David Wildstein, March 19 2019 3:31 pm

The Burlington County Democratic screening committee voted last night to recommended Gina LaPlaca and Mark Natale as their candidates for State Assembly in the 8th district and Westhampton councilwoman Linda Hynes to run for freeholder.

The full convention will meet on Thursday to award the organization line.

Republicans in Burlington County will select their candidates on Saturday.  Sean Earlen, the GOP county chairman, and 14 of 15 Republican municipal chairs, have endorsed Assemblyman Sean Peters (R-Hainesport) and Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield for Assembly after dropping party support from Assemblyman Joe Howarth (R-Evesham),

Howarth has pledged to seek the nomination, even if he has to run off the line in the June primary.

Natale is a 31-year-old attorney and Evesham Democratic district leader.  His wife, Shannon, works for the Assembly Majority office.

LaPlaca, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, ran in a February special election for the freeholder seat vacated by George Youngkin and lost by just ten votes on the second ballot to Daniel O’Connell.

O’Connell will have party support to run in a November special election for the remaining 26 months of Youngkin’s term.

Hynes, assuming the convention ratifies the screening committee recommendation, would take on incumbent Latham Tiver.   She faces former Mount Laurel councilwoman Tracey Riley.

Riley ran for Assembly in 2007 and lost to Dawn Addiego and Scott Rudder by nearly 5,000 votes.

LaPlaca and Natale emerged as the choice of party leaders from a field that included Pinelands Preservation Alliance activist Kevin Sparkman, retired U.S. Department of Defense engineer Jon Bravo, Anastasia Zuccaro and Brian Price. Bravo lost an Evesham council race in 2016 and Zuccaro was defeated in a bid for the Shamong Board of Education last year.

Democrats are still pursuing a candidate for sheriff following Stanfield’s decision to retire.

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