Pamela Thomas-Fields, a prominent Atlantic City community leader and longtime city employee, will enter the race for the Democratic nomination for mayor next week.
“Atlantic City has a wealth of resources, a resilient economy, and most importantly, residents, business proprietors, and investors who are looking for someone with bold leadership and a clear vision for the future,” Thomas-Fields said. My administration will be dedicated to nurturing Atlantic City into the world-class resort she was always destined to become.
Thomas-Fields will have the backing of Durwood Pinkett, a former aide to Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who resigned his congressional job when he learned about the party switch.
Thomas-Fields and Pinkett are engaged, and he dropped his plans to run when she decided to enter the race.
Frank Gilliam, elected mayor in 2017, resigned in October after admitting that he stole $87,000 from a youth basketball league he ran.
Thomas-Fields ran for freeholder in 2013 and lost a District 1 primary to Ernest Coursey by just 189 votes.
The Democratic county committeewoman and member of the Callaway political organization was one of three names submitted to the city council by the local Democratic organization to replace Gilliam. Marty Small, the council president who had taken over as mayor, was selected as the interim replacement.
Atlantic City is scheduled to hold a special primary election in June and a special election in November to fill the remaining fourteen months of the term.
“My forward-thinking ideas, vision for our city, and commitment to providing residents with a great community environment is paramount,” Thomas-Fields said.”I will be the needed change in government. Your voice for change.”
Small is expected to run in both, although there is uncertainty about the election.
A group led by Unite Here Local 54 casino workers union president Bob McDevitt, Resorts Casino owner Morris Bailey and former State Sen. Raymond Lesniak got enough signatures on a petition to force a March 31 election that could eliminate the direct election of mayors in Atlantic City.
Under the referendum, which Small plans to oppose, a powerful city manager would be appointed by the council and the mayor would hold a figurehead role.
In 2018, Thomas-Fields was recommended for a seat on the New Jersey Casino Control Commission by State Sen. Christopher Brown (R-Ventnor), but did not get the appointment.