By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
MAYS LANDING â€“ 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.”
“While I understand the seat needs to be filled, itâ€™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 Clerkâ€™s Office.
Hamilton Townshipâ€™s Witherspoon Parker, of Egg Harbor Township, 15,034 to 14,748, a margin of 286 votes. But because of the clerkâ€™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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