Witherspoon Appointed to Atlantic County Seat; Parker Looks to Runoff

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

MAYS LANDING – Thelma Witherspoon has been named to fill the District 3 seat on the Atlantic County Board of Commissioners (formerly freeholders) while she awaits for an April 20 runoff against her Republican challenger Andrew Parker III and a pending court appeal against the runoff.

Atlantic County Democrats, by virtue of Democrat Ashley Bennett last holding the District 3 seat, named Witherspoon on Monday as her replacement until the runoff or stopping the court-ordered election redo in the appellant court.

Witherspoon told Front Runner New Jersey Tuesday she was “excited” about being able to take the District 3 seat and is still holding out on her appeal of an Atlantic County Superior Court decision to vacate her November election win over Parker and conduct a runoff.

She was virtually sworn in on Tuesday will attend her first meeting at District 3 commissioner on next Tuesday, Jan. 19.

“I look forward to joining the Board of Commissioners and serving the residents of Hamilton and Egg Harbor Townships,” said Witherspoon in a statement released Monday. “I am hopeful that we will win on appeal, and I’d like to thank Chairman Suleiman and my legal team for fighting to preserve our hard-earned victory. Right now, I’m ready to get to work for our community.”

Parker said he is concentrating on the April runoff and called Witherspoon’s appointment “unfortunate.”

Andrew Parker. Photo courtesy of Andrew Parker

“While I understand the seat needs to be filled, it’s unfortunate that political games are being played during this process,” Parker said. “At this point of time we should focus our efforts on helping the people of Atlantic County. I will remain focused on winning the seat for commissioner on April 20th.”

Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Joseph Marczyk earlier this month vacated the Atlantic County commissioners District 3 race won Witherspoon. In his 30-page ruling, Marczyk ordered the special election at a future date in a race marred by a balloting snafu by the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office.

Hamilton Township’s Witherspoon Parker, of Egg Harbor Township, 15,034 to 14,748, a margin of 286 votes. But because of the clerk’s office error, some 328 Hamilton Township ballots did not have District 3 race on it, but should have. The judge ruled that was enough to vacate the race and order the special election.

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