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Absecon City Councilman Steve Light. (Photo: Steve Light).

Absecon councilman switches parties, causing shift to GOP control

Hurley: Van Drew, Purdy convinced Steve Light to become a Republican six days before Absecon reorganization meeting

By David Wildstein, December 30 2022 8:15 pm

A Democratic councilman in Absecon has switched parties, giving Republicans a 4-3 majority on the city council going into next week’s reorganization meeting, WPG radio personality Harry Hurley reported today.

At-Large Councilman Stephen Light will join incumbent Nicholas LaRotunda and two Republicans who unseated Democratic incumbents last month, Thomas Marrone and Richard DeRose, to form a new GOP majority.

According to Hurley, Atlantic County GOP Chairman Donald Purdy and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), were responsible for convincing Light to switch parties.

“I’ve always been a conservative who believes in faith, family, and truly doing right by your community and its residents which is why during my time on council I often found myself working with and supporting leaders like Congressman Van Drew, Senator Vince Polistina, County Executive Dennis Levinson who share my values and views on how government should work for people regardless of the politics,” Light said in a statement made to Hurley.

The party switch comes as Polistina and Levinson prepare for re-election campaigns in 2023.

Light is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 351 and served on the beach patrols in Brigantine and Atlantic City.   He was elected to the city council in 2017, defeating Republican Councilman Michael Ring by 151 votes, 53%-47%.

The 61-year-old Light was the Democratic candidate for Atlantic County freeholder in 2019, losing to District 5 incumbent Richard Dase by fourteen percentage points.

The Democratic mayor, Kimberly Horton, is not up for re-election until 2024, but two Democratic councilmembers, Betty Howell and Butch Burroughs, must face voters next year in an election that will not affect the new Republican control of the city council.

Marrone ousted Donna Poley in Ward 1 by a 56%-44% margin, while DeRose unseated Cavileer in Wad 2 by the same margin.

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