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Mount Holly Mayor Jason Jones. (Photo: Jason Jones).

Democrats, Republicans have county primaries in Burlington

Mt. Holly mayor mounts off-the-line bid for county commissioner in Democratic primary; Ian Smith ally files for Republican commissioner nod

By David Wildstein, April 04 2022 4:45 pm

Two candidates backed by embattled Burlington County Democratic Chairman Joseph Andl will face primary challenges.

In the race for a empty county commissioner seat, Mount Holly Mayor Jason Jones has filed to challenge Allison Eckel in the Democratic primary.   Former Westampton Township Committeeman Glynn Lee Eckart will run for sheriff against the organization-backed candidate, former Undersheriff Jim Kostopolis.

The off-the-line county candidates will preserve a better ballot position for county committee candidates as Jones and his team seek to oust Democratic Municipal Chairman Mike Rothmel.

Both are open seats.

Eckel and Jones will face-off for the seat left vacant in January when Linda Hynes resigned to become a Superior Court Judge.

Jeff Fortune, a former Moorestown school board member running for county commissioner on the GOP organization line, faces a primary challenge from Valerie Gallagher.  She is running on a line with Ian Smith, a Republican congressional candidate in New Jersey’s 3rd district.

Andl never called a special election convention to fill Hynes’ seat.  The deadline has now passed, although it’s possible that Andl might seek to seat Eckel anyway.

Kostopolis lost races for sheriff against Republican Jean Stanfield in 2013 and 2016.  He defeated Lumberton Township Committeeman Terrance Benson and Westampton Township Committeeman Odise Carr to advance his bid to succeed Anthony Basantis, who decided not to seek re-election to a second term.

The party picked Eckel, a member of the Lenape Regional High School Board of Education and a 2021 Assembly candidate, as their candidate over Edgewater Park Township Committeeman Mike Trainor.

Republicans are running Mike Ditzel, a Burlington County Sheriff’s Department lieutenant  and U.S. Coast Guard veteran who served as Undersheriff while Stanfield held the job.  Ditzel lost to Basantis three years ago.

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