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Denville Councilman Brian Bergen

Legislative races will mean three local government vacancies

Seats in Lower Township, Ocean City and Denville will need to be filled in January

By David Wildstein, November 15 2019 8:22 pm

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Races for the New Jersey Legislature will trigger municipal government vacancies in Lower Township, Ocean City and Denville.

Assemblyman-elect Erik Simonsen (R-Lower) will need to resign his post as mayor of Lower Township in order to join the legislature in January.

Deputy Mayor Frank Sippel, who holds an at-large council seat, will become acting mayor until the vacancy is filled.

Republican County Committee members in Lower will need to submit three names to the all-Republican Township Council to fill the last year of Simonsen’s term as mayor.

If one of the other four councilmen becomes mayor, the same process would be used to fill the council seat.

Simonsen was serving as the third ward councilman in 2016 when he was elected mayor without opposition.

Roland Roy, Jr. was appointed to replace him in 2017 and kept the seat in November when he defeated Democrat Chris Marlowe with 58% of the vote.

The three ward council seats are up in 2020.

Assemblyman-elect Antwan McClellan (R-Ocean City) must vacate his second ward council seat to become a legislator.

Since Ocean City holds May non-partisan election, the City Council will appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the expiration of his current term on July 1, 2020.

Four years ago, when Councilman Michael Allegretto resigned to head Ocean City’s Community Services Department, the council was unable to agree on a successor.  His seat remained unfilled until the next election.

McClellan won a council seat in 2012 with 56% of the vote against John Quinn.  He was unopposed in his bid for re-election four years later.

Simonsen and McClellan defeated incumbents Bruce Land (D-Vineland) and Matthew Milam (D-Vineland) in the 1st district.

Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville) must resign his Ward 2 Township Council seat before taking his 25th district seat on January 14.

The local Republican organization can submit three names to the all-GOP council, who may then pick one to fill Bergen’s seat.

Denville will hold a special election in November 2020 to fill the remaining fourteen months of Bergen’s term.  The seat will be up again for a four-year term in 2021.

Bergen was elected to the council in 2017, defeating Democrat Nathan Gould with 62% of the vote in a race for an open seat.

The West Point graduate and retired U.S. Army helicopter pilot won the open 25th district Assembly seat of Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township), who is retiring after 24 years in the legislature.

Three other incoming Assembly freshmen will not leave vacancies to fill.

Assemblyman-elect Gerald Scharfenberger (R-Middletown) did not seek re-election to his Monmouth County Freeholder seat in order to run for the seat of retiring seven-term Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Middletown).

Assemblyman-elect William Moen (D-Camden) resigned from the Camden County Freeholder Board earlier this year to run for the Assembly.  He succeeds Patricia Egan Jones (D-Barrington), who did not seek re-election to a third term.

Moen will need to leave his post as U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s South Jersey State Director.

Assemblywoman-elect Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton) retired as the Burlington County Sheriff earlier this year.

Cherry Hill Mayor-elect Susan Shin-Angulo will need to resign her seat on the Camden County Board of Freeholders at the end of the year.  That will trigger a special election convention to fill her seat.

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