By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY – If Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. seems more relaxed during the Christmas season, you wouldn’t be mistaken after he concluded two straight years of elections to win his first full four-year term to lead his hometown’s government.
Coming off the heels of his latest election last month where he beat out five other candidates to win re-election and announcement that will bring the resort town its first major full-service supermarket in years, Small said he will enjoy time with his family.
“Right now, I’ll be getting some rest and spending time with family,” Small said last month during a historical marker dedication for slain youth Micah “Dew” Tennant, keeping a promise to the family.
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On Nov. 2, Small grabbed 56.1% of the vote in the competitive field, his fourth straight election in two years since he was elevated from city council president to mayor in October 2019, replacing former Mayor Frank Gilliam. He is the fourth Black mayor in the long history of Atlantic City.
It was a tough act, becoming mayor on a whim and trying to restore honor to a position that has been wracked by scandal in the past. Gilliam resigned after he was indicted on federal wire fraud charges.
A member of the city council since 2003, when he became the youngest person ever to elected to the spot represented the 2nd Ward, Small admitted two years of constant campaigning was a grind.
“I don’t wish [four] elections in two years on anybody,” Small told Front Runner New Jersey.com. “Mentally and physically, it was draining. Campaigning is ugly. Particularly in Atlantic City, it’s a blood sport.”
Small said he was comforted by the sizable wins. He had lost two other times running for mayor before his appointment in 2019. In the Democratic primary in the summer of 2020, he won 64.4% of the vote without the endorsement of the Atlantic City Democratic Committee against challenger, Stockton University adjunct professor Pamela Thomas-Fields.
In the November 2020 general election to fill Gilliam’s remaining term, he defeated Republican Tom Forkin with 70% of the vote.
In this year’s Democratic primary for the full four-year term, he won 68% of the vote against Tom Foley before November’s victory.
“I’m glad that the people in Atlantic City time and time again have shown their faith in me in return,” Small said. “We’re going to take this city to new level.
Monica Tennant, who runs the Tennant’s Daycare Center, said Small proved to be a man of his word by staying connected to the family and following through on commitments after the national cameras went away when her nephew was killed at a high school football game in 2019.
“A lot of people made promises to us after [Micah Tennant’s] death,” Monica Tennant told FRNJ. “Marty Small was the only one, and I mean the only one, who kept his word. He has always been there for this family and we remember that.”
Even though Small believes in his public catchphrase, “It’s a great day in Atlantic City,” he said he doesn’t want to shy away from the city’s challenges, from the violence among young people to infrastructure.
“Does Atlantic City have problems? Hell yeah we do,” Small said. “But we’re working hard on our solutions and we’re working hard every day to make sure thigs get better. We’re preparing 2022 plan and State of the City address.”
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