Gloucester County Republicans are headed to a civil war in the June primary, with rival slates of legislative and countywide candidates that will keep the two tickets clear of ballot Siberia, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
The new group of candidates will anchor lines headed by Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich), who is challenging State Sen. Edward Durr (R-Logan) in the 3rd district, and Christopher DelBorrello, a former Washington Township Councilman who is seeking the GOP nomination for State Senate in the 4th district.
With two full tickets, it will be less clear to voters which slate is the one backed by the organization.
Durr has the Gloucester Republican organization lines for State Senate; Gloucester County Commissioner Nicholas DeSilvio has the line in the 4th district, where a Democrat, State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington Township), is retiring after 20 years in office.
Woolwich Mayor Samuel Maccarone, Jr. will be on the renegade line for Surrogate. He will face former East Greenwich Township Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri for the chance to challenge Democratic incumbent Giuseppe Chila.
All three county commissioner candidates have held public office: James R. Philbin, Jr. is the deputy mayor of East Greenwich, a retired police officer, and a former Gloucester County GOP chairman; former Harrison Township Committeeman Adam Wingate, who came within 1.25 points of winning a county commissioner race last year; and Franklin Deputy Mayor Heather Flaim.
They will face the three organization-backed candidates running with Durr and DeSilvio: U.S. Army veteran Frank Fisher, parental rights advocate Brooke Rivello, and Erik Anderson, a businessman, U.S. Army veteran, and emergency room technician.
The primary winners will face Democrats Jim Jefferson, an incumbent, Washington Township Mayor Joann Gattinelli, and Pitman Councilman Matthew Weng. Gattinelli and Weng are replacing Lyman Barnes, who is not seeking re-election, and Heather Simmons, a 3rd district Assembly seat candidate.
Durr is running with Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick (R-Mannington) and Hopewell Township Committeeman Tom Tedesco, who is seeking Sawyer’s open Assembly seat. Sawyer is running with only one Assembly candidate, Joseph Collins, Jr., the nephew of former Assembly Speaker Jack Collins, and is backing McCarthy Patrick for re-election.
In the 4th district, DelBorello is running with two Assembly candidates: former Buena Council President Matthew Walker, a member of the executive board of one of the state’s most politically influential labor union, Operating Engineers Local 825; and Amanda Esposito, a public school teacher from Mantua.
Maccarone, who held local office in Woolwich from 2005 to 2020, is the third generation in his family to serve as mayor. His grandfather began an 18-year stint as mayor in 1956, and his late father spent nine years on the township committee and was mayor from 1998 to 2000. He made an unsuccessful bid for State Assembly in 2015.
Bottiglieri stepped down from Township Committee in 2022 after twelve years in office.
East Greenwich is in the center of a fight to deny a second term to Durr, a truck driver who unseated Senate President Steve Sweeny two years ago. Mayor Dale Archer had mulled a Senate run himself. He told POLITICO in January that Durr was “unqualified, controversial, and proven that he cannot even handle the position of senator.”
Durr has won organization lines in Cumberland and Salem counties.
Wingate had initially planned to run on a slate headed by Mickey Ostrum, a Salem County commissioner challenging Durr in the primary, and Sawyer. But Ostrum dropped out of the race after losing party conventions in Salem and Cumberland and watching Durr get selected for the line in Gloucester. Wingate was not offered a slot on the organization line for county commissioner this year.
It’s not immediately clear if DelBorrello’s ticket will field county commissioner candidates in the Camden County portion of the 4th district. While he served as a Washington Township Councilman – a post his brother won last year – he now lives in Gloucester Township in Camden County.
Democrats have tapped former Assemblyman John Burzicehlli (D-Paulsboro) for Senate in the 3rd district, and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Washington Township) for Madden’s 4th distict Senate seat.