Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-Mount Laurel) said it will be very important for Democrats to field a woman candidate for the one seat of the Burlington County Freeholder Board up for election in 2019.
“We’re going to be having conversations, but there has to be a woman on the board,” Murphy said. “It brings balance, and I truly believe that without a woman on there — and we have one woman on there, let’s be clear —but we need to bring more diversity to the board. And by bringing the diversity to the board, it has to be a woman.”
Victories by now-Burlington County Freeholder Felicia Hopson and George Youngkin, who resigned immediately after being sworn in, have given Democrats a 3-2 majority on Burlington’s Freeholder Board, however, those wins knocked the number of women on the board down from two to one.
Former Freeholders Kate Gibbs and Linda Hughes, both Republicans, were among Burlington’s Republican casualties in 2018.
Freeholder Daniel O’Connell narrowly defeated — 190-180 — Gina LaPlaca, once an aide to Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts, in the special election to fill Youngkin’s seat. Youngkin suspended his campaign after reports that he had been arrest for domestic violence in 2006. He was elected anyway.
After the special election, LaPlaca has been floated as a possible contender for the 2019 race against Freeholder Latham Tiver, but Burlington Democrats have yet to begin deliberations about the upcoming year’s race in earnest.
“I love Gina, both Gina and Dan are my friends. I think both of them are equally qualified, I think both of them will and would have done a great job,” Murphy said. “I believe that Gina should have been taken a little bit more seriously as a candidate on her own merits, not on the merits of her husband.”
LaPlaca is married to Jason Carty, a former Republican activist.