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Republican team gives LD2 united voice for first time in 15 years

Republican team gives LD2 united voice for first time in 15 years

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For the past 15 years, the highly competitive 2nd legislative district has sent a mix of Republicans and Democrats to Trenton each election.

That’s about to change, now that the Republican team of state Sen.-elect Vince Polistina and Assembly members-elect Don Guardian and Claire Swift, all R-Atlantic, won the general election.

Once early and Election Day votes were tallied, and most vote-by-mail ballots counted, Polistina had a total of 30,312 votes to Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo’s 27,740; Guardian had 30,414 and Swift had 30,626 to Assemblyman John Armato, D-Atlantic, at 26,702 and Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick at 25,750.

The results are not final, as the Atlantic County Board of Elections expects to receive 200 to 300 more vote-by-mail ballots to count after the deadline Monday for postal delivery of ballots postmarked by Election Day, according to board Chair Lynn Caterson.

“The polls and pundits might have counted us out, but we zeroed in on winning the most important endorsement of all, from the people of Atlantic County,” Polistina said late Tuesday night in a news release.

And in districts around the 2nd, more Republicans were winning.

In the 3rd District, state Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland, appeared to be defeated by truck driver Edward Durr. Votes in tiny Salem County made the difference. The two were nearly tied in the other two counties, but Durr won by about 2,700 in Salem.

Sweeney’s running mates, Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Adam Taliaferro, also appeared to have lost with most of the vote counted.

If the results become final, the new team in the 3rd District is Durr and Republican Assemblywomen-elect Bethanne McCarthy Patricia and Beth Sawyer.

In the 8th District, state Sen. Dawn Addiego, D-Camden, Burlington, Atlantic, was defeated by Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield, R-Camden, Burlington, Atlantic. Stanfield’s team of Hammonton Councilman Michael Torrissi and Brandon Umba also appear to have won.

Addiego, elected to the Assembly in 2008 and the Senate in 2011, switched parties from Republican to Democratic in 2019.

In the 9th District, the incumbent Republican team — state Sen. Christopher Connors and Assembly members Dianne Gove and Brian Rumpf, R-Ocean, Burlington, Atlantic — was reelected handily.

Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections Maureen Bugdon’s office has provisional votes to investigate, but she could not be reached Wednesday for a provisional vote count. Those are ballots filled out at the polls but not counted until it is determined the voter is eligible. Most often people have to fill them out because they received a vote-by-mail ballot, and Bugdon must make sure they didn’t return a vote-by-mail ballot before the provisional ballot can be counted.

“It’s been 15 years since Trenton has heard a united voice speaking out from our corner of the state,” Guardian said. “Working as a team with Vince and Claire, we will fight for all of what South Jersey deserves and always put Atlantic County first.”

Swift, who had been the target of ugly attacks by the New Jersey Education Association political action committee Garden State Forward, said her team’s win proved such negativity doesn’t work.

“The people of Atlantic County delivered a strong message that they will not be easily fooled by millions of dollars in dirty lies and false attacks,” Swift said. “Instead, our team worked hard on the campaign trail and focused in on a singular, positive message — bringing commonsense solutions to Trenton and keeping costs affordable for all South Jersey’s families.”

It wasn’t clear that the Republican team had won until about 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Earlier in the night at the Republican party at Linwood Country Club attended by about 75 people, Guardian said the competitive campaign had helped him lose weight.

“Twenty-two (pounds lost) as of today — that’s because they keep sending me to houses that are 12 feet above sea level: 13 steps up, 13 steps down,” he said.

Swift said she had lost 20 pounds also.

“Want to lose weight? Run a campaign,” she said.

Doris Zheku contributed to this report.

REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post



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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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