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George Youngkin (FILE PHOTO)

O’Connell, LaPlaca advance to runoff

By Nikita Biryukov, January 19 2019 12:36 pm

Delran Councilman Daniel O’Connell and Gina LaPlaca, a once a top aide to former Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts who is now government affairs director for Verizon New Jersey, advanced to the runoff in the race to claim former Burlington County Freeholder George Youngkin’s seat.

Youngkin suspended his campaign after news that he had been arrested on domestic violence charges in 2006 became public but remained on the ballot. Youngkin won and resigned his seat immediately after he was sworn in.

O’Connell narrowly edged out LaPlaca in the first round of voting, earning 174 votes to her 171.

Burlington County Democratic Chairman said he expects to be able to announce a winner by 3 p.m. Votes will be counted by hand, and voting machines are not being used. Roughly 350 votes are expected to be cast in the second round.

Because no candidate won more than 50% of the vote in the first round of voting, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff.

LaPlaca and O’Connell beat out five other candidates in the first wave of voting.

Former Mt. Holly Mayor Jason Jones, who is now an electrician for the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers Local 269, was viewed as a formidable challenger to the first round’s victors.

Former Assembly candidate Eli Eytan, Medford Environmental Commission Chairman Kevin Sparkmen, former Pemberton Councilman Richard Prickett and Ryk Lewis, a director and choreographer from Medford Lakes, also ran for Youngkin’s seat on the Freeholder Board.

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