Collingswood Democrats elected Kate Delany as the new municipal chair at their reorganization meeting Monday night, nearly a week after a group of progressive Democrats swept sixteen seats in an off-the-line race for county committee.
The Democrats of Camden County slate outpolled the organization slate by 74 votes, 945 to 871 – a 52%-48% margin.
Collingswood was the lone victory for the progressive slate in a primary that featured nearly 90 challengers.
Delany, the author of two books on poetry, is a member of Sustainable Collingswood and runs the Collingswood Chicken Uprising, a grassroots group that is lobbying for the legalization of backyard hens.
She replaces Robert Tonsberg, who lost his bid for re-election to his county committee seat.
Collingswood – the Montclair of the South – was one of just a few New Jersey towns that voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary. Sanders beat Clinton 1,578 to 1,519 – a 59-vote, 51%-49% win in a state Clinton won by 26 points.
In the same 2016 primary, progressive Alex Law carried Collingswood by massive 481-vote, 59%-41% margin in his challenge to incumbent Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), the brother of Democratic power broker George Norcross.
Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s progressive icon, finished third in Collingswood when he sough the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017. Former Assistant U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jim Johnson carried Collingswood with 502 votes, (30%) followed by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) with 486 (29%) and Murphy with 478 (28%).
In 2018, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez won just 45% in Collingswood.
Still, despite the progressive voting history of the late Gov. William Cahill’s hometown, Collingswood went for some of the Norcross organization candidates in last week’s primary.
In the race for State Assembly in the 6th district, incumbents Louis Greenwald (D-Voorhees) and Pamela Lampitt (D-Cherry Hill), still carried Collingswood against their progressive challengers, Danie Moss-Velasco and E. Julian Jordan III.
Greenwald (970) and Lampitt (998), running with the endorsements of both Phil Murphy and George Norcross, defeated Moss-Velasco (953) and Jordan (896), albeit narrowly.
In the race for county clerk, incumbent Joseph Ripa defeated progressive Rena Margulis in Collingswood by 294 votes, 50%-34%, in a three-candidate race. Freeholder Melinda Hopkins Kane carried Collingswood by 66 votes against Margulis’ running mate, Kyle Nash – 973 to 918.
Brian Dilks-Brotman, a staff attorney for CWA Local 1036, was elected Democratic municipal vice-chair.