Republican Andrew Parker is eschewing his bid for re-election to his municipal office in order to concentrate on a special election for Atlantic County Commissioner.
Hours after Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk ordered a November 2 do-over election for the 3rd district commissioner seat, Parker announced that he was dropping out of his re-election bid for Egg Harbor Township Committee.
“In light of today’s decision, I intend to focus on keeping Atlantic County the best run in the state by running for County Commissioner this November 2,” Parker said.
Democrat Thelma Witherspoon defeated Parker by 286 votes in the November 2020 general election, but Marczyk invalidated those results after learning that County Clerk Ed McGettigan, a Democrat, mailed the incorrect ballot to 544 votes in Hamilton Township.
The seat has been vacant since January as both sides fought it out in court.
“Months ago, I suggested to my opponent that we flip a coin to bring these sad events to an end and she refused,” stated Parker. “It’s a shame the residents of Egg Harbor and Hamilton Townships will not have been represented on the County Commissioner Board for almost a year because of ongoing incompetence in the County Clerk’s Office.”
Republicans had sought a special election in late August or early September and Democrats wanted the new race conducted among the pool of 2021 general election voters.
The Egg Harbor Township GOP County Committee had until September 7 to meet and select a new candidate for the township committee as a running mate for incumbent Ray Ellis, Jr.
They will face Democrats James “Bear” Pesce and Shawn O’Brien.
In the meantime, county election officials are preparing to recount ballots in a race for a 2020 at-large seat on the Atlantic County Board of Commissioners.
Republican John Risley won the race by 370 votes out of around 130,000 cast against his Democratic challenger, Celeste Fernandez.
Initially, a judge had ordered a recount of just a sampling of the votes, but in June a state appellate court overturned that.