Darwin Cooper Jr. Wants a Chance in Cumberland County Freeholder Race


By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

VINELANDDarwin Cooper Jr. wants a chance to show his conservative ideas and those of his running mates in the general Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders race to transform the county.

The Cumberland County native is one of three Republicans challenging two Democratic incumbents and former freeholder Donna Pearson in the Nov. 3 general election. The Republicans need to win all three seats to gain a 4-3 advance on the freeholder board.

“We have a good conservative ticket here that will bring common sense government back to Cumberland County,” Cooper told Front Runner New Jersey, referring to his running mates Victoria Lods and Antonio Romero.

“I ask everybody to stand by myself and my ticket and give us a chance to show that we can move Cumberland County in the right direction.”

Darwin Cooper Jr. (R) with his Cumberland County Republican running mates. Photo courtesy of Darwin Cooper Instagram.

Cooper, 30, who was raised in Bridgeton and now lives in Vineland, has an unabashed love for Cumberland County.

“I was Cumberland County Born. I’m Cumberland County bred and when I die I will be Cumberland County dead,” Cooper said. “I love Cumberland County. I’m not going anywhere. That’s why I’m running for office and fighting for where I live. We have our ups and downs here but this county is a jewel. The good always outweighs the bad.”

If he is to represent the county he loves, he will have to win one of three seats up for grabs in the freeholders race, two of those held by Democratic incumbents — Carol Musso and George Castellini. Pearson, the third Democrat, served on the board in the late 1990s, early 2000s, and made history as the first African American freeholder director.

Darwin Cooper with U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew and New Jersey State Sen. Mike Testa. Photo courtesy Darwin Cooper Instagram.

According to Cumberland County vote totals from the July 7 election, Cooper has more than a shot to get on. He earned 7,008 votes in the Republican primary, just behind running mate Lods and it was the third most of all freeholder candidates.

Cooper said he hopes his deep Cumberland County roots, where he owns a small business, will play a key role in the race.

“I’m a local real estate investor,” Cooper said. “I flip real estate and I’ve been doing that for about four years now. I have an 8-year-old son. I could easily move but I love it here and that’s why I want to fight for it. I want to stay here.”

Cooper is a known conservative activist who worked on Republican Seth Grossman‘s Congressional campaign against in 2018 against Jeff Van Drew when Van Drew ran as a Democrat. He also ran for freeholder as an independent in 2016.

“[Grossman] is a very intelligent man,” Cooper told conservative radio talk show host Darryl Brooks on his streaming Internet show in January 2019. “I wish we had him in D.C. right now. I learned a lot during his campaign.”

He is also passionate about his conservative principles of tax breaks for the lower and middle class, smaller government and “common sense” legislation.

The July primary election did eliminate Democrat incumbent Jack Surrency, the lone African American on the freeholder board. Cooper said to truly represent everyone in the county, the board needs such ethnic representation.

“That’s paramount,” Cooper said. “We need someone who understands our struggles and who’ve been in our neighborhoods, been in the inner-city trenches. I’m here. I relate to the people in those trenches every day in our community. I’m glad they are waking up and seeing the light so they can better themselves and their communities as well.”

Cooper said he believes he can be the person to help make sure all residents in Cumberland County are represented on the freeholder board.

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