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George Youngkin (FILE PHOTO)

Hopson, Youngkin win freeholder race

Unclear whether Youngkin will keep seat or resign

By Nikita Biryukov, November 06 2018 10:45 pm

With 98% of precincts reporting, Democratic challengers George Youngkin and Felicia Hopson won their races races by wide margins Tuesday night, earning 26% and 28% of the vote, respectively, and unseating Freeholders Linda Hughes and Kate Gibbs.

Gibbs, once a rising Republican star, received 69,412 votes, about 23% while Hughes received a slightly lower 69,003 votes.

Hopson got 83,605 votes, while Youngkin secured 76,597.

Democrats only needed to flip a single seat to gain control of the five-member board.

The biggest question that remains in the wake of Tuesday’s results is what exactly Youngkin will do.

After reports said the candidate had previously been arrested on domestic violence charges, he dropped out of the race but did so after ballots were printed and sent out, and his party was unable to replace him.

So, despite the fact that he dropped his bid, Youngkin’s name remained on the ballot.

Now that he’s won, he can do two things.

He can be sworn in then resign, allowing the Burlington County Democratic Committee to elect a successor, or he can keep the seat. After all, the votes are in.

Whatever Youngkin decides, Democrats are guaranteed a majority on the board for the next two years.

Freeholder Latham Tiver, Republicans’ lone remaining member on the board, is the only member of the board up for reelection next year, so even if Youngkin gives up the seat and there’s a special election in 2019, Republicans can’t win a majority until 2020.

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