Atlantic County Clerk Edward P. McGettigan will not seek re-election to a fourth term this year, bring to close a 28-year career in politics, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
He is expected to make his announcement within the next few days, several sources have confirmed, clearing the way for Democrats to pick a new candidate for the upcoming election.
Egg Harbor City Mayor Lisa Jiampetti is considered a strong contender to replace McGettigan.
Two candidates have already announced: Calvin Ferrara, the deputy political director for Amy Kennedy’s 2020 congressional campaign; and Mico Lucide, the former chairman of Atlantic County Revolution, a political club.
The Atlantic County Democratic Candidate Recruitment Committee has not yet made a formal recommendation in advance of next month’s convention.
McGettigan has faced extensive criticism for his handling of the 2020 election.
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.
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.
Hammonton Councilman Joe Giralo entered the race for the Republican nomination for county clerk last November.
If Jiampetti wins, she would be the first woman to serve as county clerk since Lori Mooney retired in 1997.
The 64-year-old McGettigan was an Atlantic City tavern owner when he won a city council at-large seat in 1993. He served as council president before narrowly losing a race for Atlantic County Surrogate in 2005.
That same year, his brother, Jim McGettigan, was re-elected to his 5th term as Atlantic County Sheriff. He lost his seat to Republican Frank X. Balles in 2008, one year after winning just 34% in his challenge to Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.
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.