Home>Campaigns>In Woodbury, incumbent takes one-vote lead

Assemblymen Bill Moen, left, and Bill Spearman, right, go door to door with Reed Merinuk in 2019. (Photo: Bill Moen).

In Woodbury, incumbent takes one-vote lead

City council primary pits two ex-cops who can’t stand each other

By David Wildstein, June 16 2022 11:31 am

A Woodbury councilman now leads his Democratic primary opponent by just one vote in a race between two former police officers who despise each other.

Council President Reed Merinuk is up 242 to 241 over challenger Steve Cope, who mounted an off the line campaign in Ward 3 as part of the Woodbury United slate.

Before provisional, Cope had been ahead by two votes, 240 to 238.  Merinuk won provisional ballots 4 to 1.

Two-dozen early votes were cast in the Ward 3, with Merinuk receiving 14 and 10 for Cope.  Merinuk won vote-by-mail ballots by two votes, 96 to 94.

Merinuk is a former Woodbury police chief and Cope was a lieutenant.  In 2013, Cope sued Merinuk and the city for workplace harassment issues and retired later that year.

Win or lose, Cope may be remembered for his campaign slogan: “Give the City Hope.  Don’t be a Dope.  Vote for Cope!”

In addition to his council seat, Merinuk has a county job as the deputy director of public safety at the Gloucester County Emergency Operations Center.  Cope works in private security and is a longtime volunteer firefighter.

The winner of the primary will face Republican George Wagoner in the general election.

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