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Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler

Scheffler, Curcio build leads, but freeholder races too close to call

Just 16 votes separate candidates for Atlantic’s District 3 freeholder seat

By Nikita Biryukov, November 06 2020 4:24 pm

Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler appears poised to bat aside a challenge from Republican Joe “Tokyo” O’Donoghue, but other races in the county remain too close to call.

Scheffler leads his opponent by 10,691 votes, 69,157 to 58,466. Republican Surrogate James Curcio holds a narrower 65,705 to 59,796 lead over Democratic challenger Stephen Dicht.

The county’s three freeholder races still show razor-thin margins.

In the District 3 freeholder race, just 16 votes separate the two candidates vying for Freeholder Ashley Bennett’s seat. That’s bad news for Atlantic County Clerk Ed McGettigan, whose office sent incorrect ballots to 335 voters in the district. It sent another 219 District 3 ballots to Atlantic COunty residents living elsewhere.

The balloting error was first reported by WPG Talk Radio’s Harry Hurley.

Democrat Thelma Witherspoon leads Republican Andrew Parker there 14,045 to 14,029. Bennett did not seek re-election after dropping her second district House bid.

Republican Freeholder John Risley holds first place in the race for two of the county’s at-large seats. He has 63,223 votes to Democratic Freeholder Caren Fitzpatrick’s 63,087.

Celeste Fernandez is in third with 61,531 votes. That means there’s fewer than 100 votes separating her from Somers Point Councilman James Toto, who had 61,442 ballots cast in his name.

In Absecon, Democratic Ward 1 Councilwoman Betty Howell leads Republican challenger Nicholas LaRotonda by just 8 votes, down from her 23-vote margin on election day.

Ward 2 Councilman Donald Burroughs, who was appointed to fill Mayor Elizabeth Horton’s seat after she took the mayorship, has widened his lead over Republican Chris Seher, to 150 votes from the 125 she led by on election night.

Democrats in Egg Harbor City have maintained their leads. Councilwoman Donna Heist is in first with 1,064 votes. Her running mates, Mason Wright and Karl Timbers, have 1,000 and 955 votes, respectively.

Republican Councilman Clifford Mays is in fourth with 770 votes, while running mates Joseph ellis and Ingrid Clark have 739 and 756 votes.

Democratic Mayor Lisa Jiampetti holds a commanding lead over Joseph Ricci. She has 1,074 votes to his 755.

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