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Kevin Davis (Photo: Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund).

Kevin Davis retiring as Hunterdon administrator

Longtime Senate staffer and GOP operative had held county administrator post for five years

By David Wildstein, June 09 2022 4:24 pm

Kevin P. Davis, who played a key role in political campaigns in the 1980’s and 1990s as one of the state’s smartest Republican strategists, will retire from his post as Hunterdon County Administrator on July 8.

Hunterdon County Commissioner John E. Lanza said that Brad Myhre, the deputy county commissioner and a former aide to Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township), will be considered for appointment as Davis’ successor.

Lanza said that Davis took the administrator post in Hunterdon in 2017 with a three-year commitment.

“With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the Board prevailed upon Mr. Davis to serve longer,” Lanza said.  “He is now headed to a well-deserved retirement.”

The 67-year-old Davis began working on campaigns at age 17, and by the early 1980s, after serving in the U.S> Army, had become the Hillside Republican Municipal Chairman, municipal clerk business administrator, and school board member.  While Hillside had already become a predominately Democratic town, Davis was able to swing occasional victories for Republican candidates for state, county and municipal office.

As a result of his ability to deliver a Democratic town to GOP candidates, Davis was able to get Hillside’s mayor, Louis Santagata, elected to the Union County Board of Freeholders.

Some of Davis’s early campaigns pitted him against another legendary political insider, Charlotte DeFilippo, who succeeded him as municipal clerk after wrestling control of the township committee.

Davis later worked on the staffs of Assembly Speaker Chuck Hardwick and Senate President Donald DiFrancesco.  He ran Rodney Frelinghuysen’s 1990 campaign for Congress against State Sen. Richard Zimmer and former NFL player Phil McConkey.

He served as deputy executive director of the Senate Republican Office from 1986 to 2002, and along with Jeff Michaels, engineered DiFrancesco’s election as Senate President after the 1991 Republican wave against John Dorsey, the enate minority leader.

Davis became the Hillsborough Township Administrator in 2004.  He left the post in 2010 and returned to Trenton to serve as a deputy executive director of the Senate Republican staff at the request of the minority leader, Thomas Kean, Jr.

“I have enjoyed meeting the many challenges facing county government during my five plus years here at the county,” Davis said. “If my tenure has been successful, it is due to the dedication our county employees have in serving the people of the county.”

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