One of the most popular vote-getters in Gloucester County history says he will seek re-election to a sixth term this year.
Democrat James N. Hogan, who has held public office for most of the last 34 years, is now preparing for an aggressive challenge from Republicans who are bullish on their chances to take control of county government this fall.
“I’m going to present myself to the (Democratic) executive committee with the hope that they will support me for county clerk,” Hogan said. “Then I’m going to ask the citizens of Gloucester County to rehire me.”
There had been some speculation that the 80-year-old Hogan was considering retirement, and Republicans had hoped that was the case.
Hogan had won countywide races for sheriff and county clerk and had run for Congress as a Republican before switching parties in 2002.
After an 11-year dry spell, Republicans ousted five-term Carmel Morina in 2021, and picked up two county commissioner seats. Nick DeSilvio and Chris Konawel defeated eight-term incumbent Robert Damminger and West Deptford Mayor Denice DiCarlo, who was seeking the open seat of retiring Commissioner James Lavender.
The same election produced the upset victory of State Sen. Edward Durr (R-Swedesboro) against Senate President Steve Sweeney. Republican Assemblywomen Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich) and Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington) defeated two Democratic assemblymen last year.
DiCarlo wound up as a county commissioner anyway. Gloucester County Democrats picked her in a special election convention last month after Dan Christy resigned two years into his fourth term.
Now DiCarlo and six-term incumbent Frank DiMarco will face the voters in November. Republicans need to win both seats to capture control for the first time since 1981.
The GOP has not yet announced their candidates.
Hogan was serving as the Franklin Township police chief in 1985 when Republicans recruited him to run against Democrat George Small, the popular and seemingly unbeatable Gloucester County sheriff. Hogan came within 1,800 votes of winning.
In 1988, Small retired and Hogan defeated Democrat Edwin Erickson, the undersheriff, by about 5,000 votes, 53%-47%. Three years later, Hogan was re-elected in a landslide 12,000-vote, 60%-40% rematch against Erickson despite being outspent by a 2-1 margin.
Hogan gave up his sheriff’s post in 1994 to run for Congress but lost to two-term Rep. Rob Andrews (D-Haddon Heights). He received 28% of the vote despite a Republican wave in President Bill Clinton’s mid-term election.
When Republican Joseph J. Hoffman decided to retire after seven terms as county clerk in 1997, Hogan decided to run for the post. He defeated Democrat Angelo Romero, a former freeholder, by nearly 8,000 votes, 55%-45%. That same election saw Gloucester County voters toss two Republican freeholders and stymie the comeback of a longtime Republican surrogate, but also re-elect GOP Sheriff Chuck Gill.
In 2002, one year after Sweeney, the Gloucester County freeholder director, defeated eight-term Democrat-turned-Republican State Sen. Raymond Zane, Hogan decided to switch parties and seek re-election as a Democrat.
Hogan defeated Republican Anthony DiMasi by about 18,000 votes, winning his second term with 62% of the vote.
Since then, Hogan has had little trouble getting re-elected. He won his fifth term in 2017 with 55% of the vote against Republican Diane King.