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Egg Harbor City Mayor Lisa Jiampetti addresses the Atlantic County Democratic Convention on March 21, 2021. (Photo: Zoom.)

Jiampetti wins Atlantic Democratic line for county clerk

Lucide will run in Democratic primary

By David Wildstein, March 21 2021 3:47 pm

Egg Harbor City Mayor Lisa Jiampetti won the Atlantic County Democratic organization line for county clerk, defeating Mico Lucide at the party’s annual convention on Sunday by a vote of 132-80, 63%-37%.

Lucide said after the convention that he would challenge Jiampetti in the June Democratic primary.

“While I have every intention of continuing through the primary, I will do so cordially, continuing to speak no negativity of or toward Mayor Jiampetti as this election plays out. The people will decide our nominee, and I anticipate they will do so based on the message that resonates with them the most,” Lucide said.  “I trust that the party and Mayor Jiampetti will respect my intent to allow democracy to play out in the voting booths, as our voters deserve to have a choice.”

Jiampetti indirectly referenced embattled three-term incumbent Edward McGettigan, who is not seeking re-election

“I will investigate all operations assigned to the office and take any and all steps necessary to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.

In the District 4 freeholder race, McGettigan admitted to mailing the wrong ballots to 554 voters in a race for county commissioner that turned out to be decided by just 286 votes.

As a result, Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk tossed the entire election and mandated a do-over.

Lucide, a former Atlantic County Our Revolution chairman and 2017 Green Party Assembly candidate, had run on a platform of redesigning ballots to eliminate the advantage of an organization line.

“When people feel locked out of the halls of power like no one is listening to them, when they feel like they don’t know or understand enough to change things, it reveals a problem bigger than individual responsibility,” Lucide said.  “When you know what your rights are and what government is supposed to do for you, you have a sense of confidence in making your voice heard.”

As county clerk, Lucide had pledged to increase voter turnout, make information more accessible, and empower people to hold their government accountability.

“I recognize the barriers to equity like a confused and skewed ballot design,” Lucide said.  “The county clerk can do so much more than we’ve seen it do.  I will seize the opportunity to serve this county in an unprecedented way.”

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) delivered the keynote address at the convention.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we still had a stellar virtual Convention,” said Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman. “Our members are fired up and ready to elect Democrats up and down the ballot this fall.”

If the 58-year-old Jiampetti wins, she would be the first woman to serve as county clerk since Lori Mooney retired in 1997.

Republicans voted on Saturday to give their organization line for county clerk to Hammonton Councilman Joe Giralo.

Jiampetti has won three races for mayor and two for city council in Egg Harbor City, a small but politically competitive municipality in the northern part of Atlantic County.  She has a doctorate in organizational leadership and is married to a New Jersey State Trooper.

Atlantic County Democrats also voted to award their organization line to Gov. Phil Murphy, Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) for State Senate, Assemblyman John Armato for re-election to his 2nd district seat, and County commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick for Mazzeo’s open Assembly seat.

“People are catching on that our progressive values are what will propel us,” Murphy told the convention in a pre-recorded message.  “I cannot win re-election without you.”

Democrats also picked Celeste Fernandez to challenge Republican Commissioner-at-Large Frank X. Balles, Jelani Gandy to take on Commissioner Maureen Kern, and Hamilton Township Committeeman Bill Beyers to run against Commissioner James Bertino.

McGettigan has faced extensive criticism for his handling of the 2020 election.

Republicans had called for McGettigan’s ouster and have asked him to personally foot the bill for the new election.  Two Democratic legislators also told the longtime county official it was time to go.

Following the retirement of three-term County Clerk Michael Garvin in 2006, McGettigan secured the Democratic nomination and defeated Republican Sonya Harris by a slim 1,833-vote margin, 51%-49%.

He was re-elected by 1,525 votes, 51%-49%, against Republican Michelle Verno in 2011, and by a 57%-43% margin in 2016 against Republican Paul Rosenberg.

Republicans voted on Saturday to give their organization line for county clerk to Hammonton Councilman Joe Giralo.

If the 58-year-old Jiampetti wins, she would be the first woman to serve as county clerk since Lori Mooney retired in 1997.

Jiampetti has won three races for mayor and two for city council in Egg Harbor City, a small but politically competitive municipality in the northern part of Atlantic County.  She has a doctorate in organizational leadership and is married to a New Jersey State Trooper.

“While I have every intention of continuing through the Primary, I will do so cordially, continuing to speak no negativity of or toward Mayor Jiampetti as this election plays out,” Lucide said. “The people will decide our nominee, and I anticipate they will do so based on the message that resonates with them the most. I trust that the party and Mayor Jiampetti will respect my intent to allow democracy to play out in the voting booths, as our voters deserve to have a choice.”

This story was updated at 5:11 PM with comment from Lucide.

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