Home>Local>Atlantic>Witherspoon teams up with Suleiman in Atlantic Dem leadership race

Thelma Witherspoon. (Photo: Thelma Witherspoon).

Witherspoon teams up with Suleiman in Atlantic Dem leadership race

By David Wildstein, March 24 2022 4:36 pm

Thelma Witherspoon will seek the Atlantic County Democratic vice chair post when the party reorganizes in June, running on a ticket with the incumbent county chairman, Michael Suleiman.

She would replace Audrey Miles, who is stepping down to become the Atlantic County deputy superintendent of elections.

“While she will be serving our party in this capacity–processing voter registration applications, handling provisional ballots, etc.–this role will not allow her to serve in a party position.  Audrey has been a tremendous partner and a good friend,” Suleiman said.  “I will miss our day-to-day interactions but I’m incredibly happy for her on this new chapter in her life.”

Witherspoon appeared to have been elected to the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders in 2020.

She led Republican Andrew Parker, Egg Harbor Township Committeeman, by 286 votes in the November 2020 general election in District 3.

But Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk invalidated those results after learning that County Clerk Ed McGettigan, a Democrat, mailed the incorrect ballot to 544 votes in Hamilton Township.  He said it was impossible to determine an actual winner.

The court ordered a new election to be held in November 2021 and the political environment had changed for Witherspoon and Parker.    Joe Biden had replaced Donald Trump as president and Gov. Phil Murphy lost Atlantic County and District 3 to Republican Jack Ciattarelli.

Parker beat Witherspoon by 2,137 votes, 57%-43%.

That was Witherspoon’s third run. She lost a freeholder-at-large race in 2017 by just 892 votes against incumbent John Risley.

“While Thelma and I have been teammates and friends for a long time, we became particularly close during our service on the County Commissioner Redistricting Commission, where we achieved a huge victory for our party,” said Suleiman.  “Thelma’s guidance and advice were invaluable during the redistricting fight, and she played an integral role in our victory. While Thelma has big shoes to fill, I’m confident that she will do a great job helping to lead our party into 2022 and beyond.”

Suleiman has no opposition for re-election.

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