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Gloucester County Commissioner Lyman Barnes. (Photo: Gloucester County).

Gloucester County Commissioner won’t seek re-election

Lyman Barnes will retire at the end of his fourth term

By David Wildstein, February 25 2023 1:28 pm

Gloucester County Commissioner Lyman Barnes will not seek re-election to a fifth term this year, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

The retirement leaves Democrats more than a month to pick a replacement in advance of the March 27 filing deadline. 

Countrywide elections in Gloucester County have become increasingly competitive in recent years.  Republicans broke the 7-0 Democratic majority on the county commission in 2021 when they flipped two seats and the sheriff’s office.  But Democrats stopped a GOP bid to take control last year, re-electing two incumbents and a longtime county clerk.

Two other incumbents, Heather Simmons and Jim Jefferson, are expected to seek re-election, although Simmons has been mentioned as a potential candidate for State Senate or Assembly in the 3rd legislative district. 

The 68-year-old Barnes was first elected freeholder in 2011 on a ticket with Simmons, who had been appointed to fill a vacancy, and former football star and future assemblyman Adam Taliaferro.  The three incumbent freeholders,, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Warren Wallace and Frank DiMarco, did not seek re-election. 

Barnes defeated the top Republican vote-getter, Penni Heritage, a winery owner from Harrison Township, by 2,263 votes. He was re-elected in 2014, 2017 and 2020, when he defeated GOP challengers Nick DiSilvio (by 1,944 votes) and Chris Konawel.  The two Republicans won county commissioner seats in 2021. 

Prior to running countywide, Barnes served on the Logan Planning Board before winning an unexpired term on the township council by 159 votes against Republican Sharon Erdmann in 2006.  He later served as mayor of Logan.

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