Linda DuBois resigned as the Salem County Republican chair on Friday, ending a four-year stretch where the GOP regained its footing as the majority party.
Linwood H. Donelson III, a 30-year-old attorney and the party’s vice chair since 2018, will become the acting county chairman. He’ll need to decide if he wants to seek a full term when the GOP county committee elects a new chairman next June.
DuBois said it was time for her to move on.
“It has been my pleasure to serve this wonderful County. I’ve been privileged to work with some pretty awesome candidates who have been running for positions within Salem County, State and Federal levels over the last four years,” DuBois said in a letter to party leaders. “Thank you for this awesome opportunity.”
DuBois will remain as a member of the New Jersey Apportionment Commission that is redrawing the state’s 40 legislative districts for the 2023 mid-term elections.
DuBois, a retired teacher who spent 27 years on the Pittsgrove Township Committee — including five years as mayor — became county chair in February 2018 after Fran Grenier resigned three months after losing the most expensive legislative race in American history to Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Republicans lost one freeholder seat in the November 2017 general election when a GOP incumbent was defeated. They lost control of the board in late December when Freeholder Melissa DeCastro switched to the Democratic party in a move rumored to have been engineered by Sweeny as payback to Grenier.
Under DuBois’ leadership, Republicans won majority control of the Salem County Board of Commissioners in 2018 and held on to the County Clerk’s office after a competitive race in 2019. Republicans carried Salem in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. Senate races, both times against incumbent Democrats.
Last month, Republicans swept all three seats in the 3rd legislative district, with Edward Durr ousting Sweeney and Beth Sawyer and McCarthy Patrick unseated two Democratic assemblymen.
McCarthy Patrick will become the first legislator from Salem County since Republican Assembly Speaker Jack Collins retired 20 years ago.
Durr beat Sweeney in Salem County by 2,663 votes and by 2,199 votes overall. McCarthy Patrick and Sawyer won Salem by a similar plurality.
Republicans now have a 4-1 majority on the county commissioner board and won 23 of 30 municipal races in Salem County this year.
Weeks after Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) switched parties, DuBois endorsed him for re-election to a second term. Van Drew won 70% of the vote in the 2020 GOP primary and carried Salem by 3,395 votes against Democrat Amy Kennedy in the general election.
Jack Ciattarelli carried Salem County by a landslide 5,727-vote margin, 62%-35% margin over Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. Four years ago, Murphy lost Salem by just 815 votes.
Ciattarelli’s margin in Salem was 1,466 more than Murphy’s was in heavily-Democratic Passaic County, which has eight times as many voters.
The only Republican loss in Salem came in 2020 when Bethanne McCarthy Patrick came within 801 votes of unseating veteran Democratic Surrogate Nickie Burke.
DuBois’ departure brings the total number of women serving as Republican county chairs from four to three.
Donelson is a former member of the Lower Alloways Creek Board of Education. He is now the president of the Salem County Special Services and Vocational and Technical school board.
He takes over the chairmanship at a time when Durr, who will be sworn in on January 11, will have senatorial courtesy over gubernatorial nominations in Salem County.
In 2017, Donelson lost a bid for State Assembly in the 3rd district against incumbents John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro) and Adam Taliaferro (D-Woolwich). Durr had run as an independent in that race.
DuBois will start her 33rd year as the swimming and diving coach at Arthur P. Schalick High School in Pittsgrove.
Salem is New Jersey’s smallest counties – it’s about the size of Old Bridge