Marty Small Declares ‘Unofficial’ Victory in Atlantic City Mayor’s Race

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

ATLANTIC CITY – Mayor Marty Small claimed “unofficial” victory Wednesday in the hotly contested Democratic Party primary mayoral race in Atlantic City after voting ended Tuesday.

Small said he had 61 percent of vote with 75 percent of the vote counted Wednesday, but the tallies will not become official until early next week because of outstanding mail-in ballots. The coronavirus pandemic has made this race – and other around the country – unusual since mot of the voting have been handled via mail.

“The numbers are on our side,” Small said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “We expect the numbers to continue to grow, based on our internal data. … I just want the same chance everyone else has had.”

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Small had run a competitive campaign against Pamela Thomas-Fields, who has worked with city government in Atlantic City for more than 20 years and is an adjunct professor at Stockton University. Jimmy Whitehead also ran in the election.

According to the most recent update available late Wednesday, Small won 62.3 percent of the vote tallied so far (1,857). Thomas-Field had 32.9 percent (979) and Whitehead 4.8 percent (143). In the District 2 race, Small’s old district, incumbent LaToya Dunston won 67.7 percent of the vote (360) while challenger Delmar Hamilton won 172 votes (32.3 percent).

If the lead holds up, Small moves on the general election to face Republican Thomas Forkin. Since the election is filling the one-year vacated term of former mayor Frank Gilliam, Small will have to go through yet another Democratic primary and general election again next year if he wants to win a full four-year term as mayor.

Small admitted he was tired along with his team, which first had to fight off a change-of-government election in May that could have turned over the election of mayor to city council rather than the public.

“There’s no time to spike the football,” Small said. “There’s still a lot of work to do.”

Small call on those who did not vote for him to come together for the November campaign. He said he has not heard from Thomas-Fields or Whitehead. Thomas-Field had scheduled Facebook Live event Wednesday night, but it was cancelled.

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