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Atlantic County Commissioner Ernest Coursey. (Photo: Atlantic County Commission).

Republicans hold two Atlantic County commissioner seats, Democrats hold one

Democrat Ernest Coursey faced tougher battle after redistricting

By Joey Fox and David Wildstein, November 08 2022 11:35 pm

The New Jersey Globe projects that Democrat Ernest Coursey has won re-election to a fourth term on the Atlantic County Board of Commissioners, leading Republican businesswoman Vern Macon by a 55%-45% margin in the 1st district as of 11:33 p.m.

As of 11:32 p.m., two Republican incumbents, At-Large Commissioner Amy Gatto and 4th District Commissioner Richard Dase, have also won re-election to their county commissioner seats, leaving the GOP with a 7-2 majority. (The board of commissioners consists of four at-large seats and five district-based seats.)

Gatto, a former Hamilton Township mayor, leads Democrat Habib Rehman 58%-42%; Dase, a former aide to Rep. Frank LoBiondo, coasted to a sixth three-year term against Democrat Kathleen Galante.

Coursey, who served as a city councilman in Atlantic City from 1991 to 2002, faced a tougher-than-usual race after redistricting.

A Democratic map picked by a court-appointed tiebreaker deliberately made the 1st district more politically competitive by separating heavily Democratic Atlantic City and Pleasantville, replacing Pleasantville with more Republican-leaning towns. That meant the Atlantic City-based Coursey had to fight for re-election, but it also means that when the new Pleasantville seat comes up in 2024, Democrats have a solid chance to flip it.

The lone Democratic at-large commissioner, Caren Fitzpatrick, is up for re-election in 2023.  It’s still not clear if she will seek a third term or make a second bid for the legislature.

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