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Cape May County Clerk Rita Marie Fulginiti. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Cape May clerk rejects progressive nominating petitions

Kennedy slate won’t be on ballot in June primary

By David Wildstein, April 01 2020 3:18 pm

A progressive slate of Cape May candidates formed to bracket with Democratic congressional candidate Amy Kennedy has failed to qualify for the June 2 ballot, the county’s top election official said.

Cape May County Clerk Rita Marie Fulginiti has rejected petitions from sheriff candidate Jeremiah Schenerman, county clerk candidate Noelle Jacquelin and freeholder candidates Debi de la Cretaz and Shaheed Bashir.

“None of these four petitions had the requisite number of voter signatures and were rejected,” Fulginiti said.

Candidates for countywide office need 100 signatures of registered Democrats or unaffiliated voters.

Technical errors in nominating petitions can be fixed after the filing deadline, but no new signatures can be added.

Unless the progressive candidates challenge Fulginiti’s decision or mount a court battle, this leaves freeholder candidates Elizabeth Casey and Brendan Sciarra unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Casey and Sciarra, the Cape May Democratic county chairman, are running on the organization line with presidential candidate Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and congressional candidate Brigid Callahan Harrison

Kennedy had hoped to have candidates to bracket with to avoid being left in a sort of ballot Siberia with three other Democrats running off the line in the 2nd district House race.

The rejection of the petitions is a setback for progressive activists challenging the Cape May Democratic line.

Cape May accounted for 15% of the total votes cast in the 2018 Democratic congressional primary.

The Democratic organization did not file candidates for sheriff or county clerk, so Republican incumbents will run unopposed unless a write-in candidates receives at least 100 votes.

Schenerman, a 28-year-old U.S. Army reservist who mounted a last-minute write-in campaign for State Senate in 2019 after the Democratic incumbent, Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle) said that he would consider voting to re-elect Donald Trump.  He ran for freeholder in 2018 on the organization line.

Joining Schenerman were former Estell Manor Superintendent of Schools Noelle Jacquelin for county clerk, and Debi de la Cretaz, a former North Cape May school board member, and Shaheed Bashir for freeholder.

Progressive activists, including the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, filed a lawsuit seeking to block Sciarra and Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman from postponing county committee elections until 2021. 

The judge assigned to the case is James J. Pickering, Jr., a former Cape May County Democratic chairman.


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