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Gloucester County Commissioner Frank DiMarco. (Photo: Gloucester County Office of Public Information).

Democrats retain control of Gloucester County government

James Hogan wins another term as county clerk

By Joey Fox and David Wildstein, November 08 2022 10:02 pm

The New Jersey Globe projects that Democrats have retained control of the Gloucester County board of commissioners, with Democratic incumbents Frank DiMarco and Denice DiCarlo holding on against Republicans Adam Wingate and Stephen Pakradooni, Jr. in something of a surprise result. Their wins mean Democrats will keep a 5-2 seat majority.

As of 10:00 p.m. and with 100% of districts reporting, DiMarco and DiCarlo each had around 25.5% of the vote, while Wingate had 24.7% and Pakradooni had 24.2%. The vote margin between DiCarlo and Wingate stands at 1,518 votes.

Democratic County Clerk James Hogan has also won re-election, currently leading Republican Tom Narolewski, the Woolwich Republican municipal chairman, by a 5,024-vote, 53%-47% margin.

The retention of Gloucester County is a major win for Democrats, especially former Senate President Steve Sweeney, who has run the county since he was freeholder director in the 1990s.  Sweeney unexpectedly lost his Senate seat last year and remains in pursuit of the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Gloucester swung way to the right in 2021, and there’s been some chaos in Democratic county politics since then. State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington) quietly stepped down as Democratic chairman in June, and the new chairman, Chad Bruner, spent much of the campaign trying to defuse an unpleasant scandal involving a Democratic Mantua committeeman and a K9 dog who died in his care.

Democrats won control of the Gloucester County Board of Freeholders in 1973 and lost it only once; in 1979, when the GOP win a 4-3 majority.  Republicans expanded their control to 5-2 in 1980, but then lost two seat and their majority in 1981, when Democrat Rep. Jim Florio led the ticket in his nearly successful bid for governor against Republican Thomas H. Kean.

Republicans ended an 11-year losing streak in Gloucester County in 2021 after Nick DeSilvio and Chris Konawel defeated eight-term incumbent Robert Damminger and DiCarlo, who was seeking the open seat of retiring Commissioner James Lavender.

The same election produced an upset victories by Republican Jonathan Sammons over five-term Sheriff Carmel Morina, State Sen. Edward Durr (R-Swedesboro) against Sweeney, and Republican Assemblywomen Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich) and Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington), who defeated two Democratic assemblymen last year. The party had hoped to keep up the winning streak this year.

The 80-year-old Hogan has been county clerk for 25 years and served two terms as sheriff as a Republican before winning a county clerk race in 1997.  Hogan switched parties in 2002.

A former Deptford councilman, DiMarco has held his seat for 24 years; he was elected in 2004.

DiCarlo, a former West Deptford mayor who lost a bid for county commissioner in 2021 but won a special election convention in March after Democrat Dan Christy resigned two years into his fourth three-year term.

Wingate, 32, was elected to the Harrison Township Committee in 2019.

Pakradooni carried the Gloucester County portion of the 4th legislative district with 53% of the vote in his 2021 bid to unseat Madden.

Editor’s note: actual election results will change between now and the certification of this election after provisional and late arriving vote-by-mail ballots are counted.

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