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Durwood Pinkett

Durwood Pinkett, Democrat who quit Van Drew staff, may run for mayor of Atlantic City

Longtime community leader may challenge Small for Democratic nod

By David Wildstein, January 17 2020 6:32 pm

Durwood Pinkett, who resigned his post as an aide to Rep. Jeff Van Drew immediately upon being informed of his party switch, is mulling a bid for for mayor of Atlantic City.

“I am officially exploring Democratic support for mayor,” Pinkett told the New Jersey Globe.  “A lot of people in Atlantic City are dissatisfied with our current mayor.”

Marty Small became mayor in October following the arrest and resignation of Frank Gilliam, who admitted to stealing $87,000 from a youth basketball league he founded.

Atlantic City will hold a special primary election in June and a special election in November to fill the remaining fourteen months of the term.  Small is expected to run in both.

The election is not a sure thing.

A group led by Unite Here Local 54 casino workers union president Bob McDevitt, Resorts Casino owner Morris Bailey and former State Sen. Raymond Lesniak got enough signatures on a petition to force a March 31 election that could eliminate the direct election of mayors in Atlantic City.

Under the referendum, which Small plans to oppose, a powerful city manager would be appointed by the council and the mayor would hold a figurehead role.

Pinkett served as Van Drew’s community outreach director after working for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee helping to turn out votes in the 2018 general election. He headed a public relations firm for eight years.

“I’m humbled by the support that I have received,” Pinkett, a longtime community leader said.  “I’m just a local who came up the hard way.”

As a teenager, Pinkett formed a local organization that worked with Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network that brought national attention to issues related to youth in Atlantic City.

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