The Burlington County Times has endorsed Republican incumbent Kate Gibbs and Democratic challenger Felicia Hopson for Burlington County Freeholder, meaning the influential local newspaper wants Democrats in control of county government for the first time since 1975.
The newspaper had rave reviews of Gibbs, a rising star in New Jersey politics.
“Gibbs has proved herself to be a motivated and results-oriented freeholder. As director, she has steered the board into uncharted areas where its influence — and dollars — has made a welcome and perceptible difference,” the editorial board wrote.
But the newspaper was less impressed with the other GOP incumbent, Linda Hughes.
“Hughes is less persuasive, and while her donation of a kidney is laudable, it’s a subject she turns to far too often at the expense of more pertinent issues,” the newspaper said.
The editorial board also criticized the Republicans for appointing Hughes to the seat vacated in January when Ryan Peters became an assemblyman, two months after she lost re-election to the freeholder board.
“The unfortunate fact that she was appointed to the board, rejected at the polls and then reinstated — thus circumventing the will of voters — is highly disturbing and should not have happened,” he newspaper wrote.
Instead the endorsement went to Hopson, a Willingboro school board member.
The controversy over departed running mate George Youngkin’s past has put Hopson in a tough spot, but she displays a tenacity that has weathered personal struggles and would be an asset to the board,” the BCT said.