Leonard Desiderio is a venerable institution in Sea Isle City, where he’s been mayor since 1995 and a Cape May County commissioner since 2002. He’s so popular locally in the small beach town of about 2,100 people – population swells to around 40,000 — that it’s been a dozen years since anyone has ever bothered to run against him.
After yesterday’s filing deadline, Desiderio again has no opponent as he runs for an eighth term as mayor. He won his last contested race with 67% of the vote, 976 to 474, against Michael McHale in 2011.
Councilmen William Kehner and Frank Edwardi also face no opposition in their bids for re-election. Kehner served on the council from 1977 to 1981, and again since 2007. Edwardi was elected to the city council in 2007.
Desiderio is among a small group of elected officials who were grandfathered in when the state passed their ban on dual officeholding ban in 2007.
Desiderio grew up in Nutley before his family relocated to Sea Isle City. His younger brother, Gerard Desiderio, was elected Cape May County Republican chairman in 1990 at age 27. He was just 43 when he died of a heart attack in 2003.