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Ex-Democratic chair Forkin running for Atlantic City mayor as Republican
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Ex-Democratic chair Forkin running for Atlantic City mayor as Republican

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{child_flags:top_story}Forkin running for Atlantic City mayor as Republican

{child_byline}DAVID DANZIS

Staff Writer

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ATLANTIC CITY — The onetime head of the city Democratic Committee has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor as the lone Republican candidate on this year’s ballot.

Thomas Forkin, vice chairman of the Atlantic City Republican Club, will run unopposed in the rescheduled July 7 primary election and await the winner on the Democratic side in November. Forkin, 57, said he will launch his mayoral campaign soon, but more pressing issues must take precedent.

“I have not made a formal announcement yet as we must first help our community move through this (coronavirus) pandemic and defeat the change of government vote on May 12,” Forkin said. “However, the petition has been certified, and I am a candidate. When this virus passes, we must be able to hit the ground running and rebuild our community.”

Mayor Marty Small Sr., Pamela-Thomas Fields and James Whitehead are running in the July 7 Democratic primary.

The eventual winner will serve just one year to complete the unexpired term of former Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr., who resigned in October.

A citywide special election to change the form of government could make mayoral candidates irrelevant. A successful referendum vote would eliminate all 10 of the city’s current elected officials — the mayor and nine council members — and replace the current government with a council-manager format.

Forkin has run unsuccessfully for office as an independent twice — once in 2015 as a candidate for 1st Ward council and again in 2017 as a candidate for an at-large position.

A former assistant city solicitor under the late former Mayor Jim Whelan who also served as a legal adviser for the Atlantic City Police Department, Forkin recently served as chairman of the city’s Alcohol Beverage Control board.

Forkin is a teacher at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology and director of the AC Surf School.

Finding ways to reduce taxes while increasing public safety and the quality of public education are the crux of his platform, Forkin said.

“People are apprehensive to purchase property or move to Atlantic City due to the unstable and high property taxes and poor public schools,” said Forkin, who is also a co-founder and legal committee chairman of the Atlantic City Taxpayers Association.

The understaffed Police and Fire departments must be bulked up, he said, and incentives to keep public safety workers living in the city have to be implemented.

“This public safety shortage has become more problematic during the pandemic,” he said. “Clearly, we could have protected our community much more effectively.”

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Contact: 609-272-7222

ddanzis@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressDanzis

Staff Writer

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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