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Diane Allen served in the New Jersey State Senate from 1998 to 2018

Burlington politicians who transcended party

By David Wildstein, February 23 2019 11:50 am

Burlington County has had a string of popular elected officials who have survived regardless of political waves.

Francis “Luke” Brennan, a Democrat elected sheriff in 1959, went on to serve nine terms before retiring in 1986.

Republican Edward Kelly, a former mayor of Willingboro, defeated incumbent county clerk Charles Ehrlich in 1969.  He survived the 1974 Watergate Democratic landslide and held the job for 25 years.

Elton Conda was Republican who was elected surrogate in 1966 and stayed until his death forty years later. Conda lived in a nursing home for the last few years of his life, working only in the mornings and taking an occasional nap on his office sofa.

Diane Allen unseated a Democratic assemblyman in 1995 and moved up to the Senate in 1997.  She spent 26 years in the legislature, winning the solidly Democratic 7th district seven times.  Once Allen left, Democrat Troy Singleton won the seat with 66% of the vote.

The list includes Jean Stanfield, a six-term sheriff who announced on Friday that she would not seek re-election after eighteen years in office.  Despite Burlington’s trend toward Democrats over the last decade, Stanfield likely would have held her seat if she ran again this year.

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