Following an exhausting and contentious two-day provisional ballot count in Atlantic County, Assemblyman John Amodeo (R-2) held onto his lead over Democratic challenger Northfield Mayor Vincent Mazzeo.
But Democrats, furious with the process, aren’t giving up.
Atlantic County GOP Chairman Keith Davis said Amodeo finished the night up by ten votes. Democratic Chairman Jim Schroeder said Amodeo is up by just two – and feels good about a challenge.
Davis said his legal counsel said ten votes divided the candidates. Mazzeo said just two votes separated the candidates: Amodeo 25,090; Mazzeo 25,088 – the closest election result in LD2 history.
“I’m in a good position to win this,” Mazzeo said.
At the end of the night, two Democratic board members and two Republican board members were split on the condition of 118 provisional ballots.
“I am confident a judge will allow those 118 provisional ballots to be counted and that will put us up by 70 votes,” said Schroeder, coming to the same conclusion as his Assembly candidate.
Davis had another take on the situation.
“Congratulations, Assemblyman John Amodeo,” said the Republican county leader. “If the votes are not lawful they should not be counted. If Jim Schroeder thinks that’s disenfranchisement, I think he should look up the definition.”
Although Amodeo unofficially beat Mazzeo, the chairman of the county Democratic Party says the result is too close to avoid a recount and more scrutiny.
“Republican Board of Elections members challenged a lot of ballots out of minority districts,” said an adamant Schroeder.
Like Republican backers of Republican Joe Scarpa in LD38, Democratic allies of Mazzeo’s in Atlantic County will pursue legal action – and in this case with bitterness.
“We are headed to court on Friday,” the Dems chairman added. “This is an outrage. They’re targeting minority voters.”
Republicans tonight crossed out 56 of 81 provisional ballots from Democratic-heavy Pleasantville and yesterday X’d 32 in Atlantic City, among others.
“They’re trying to disenfranchise voters,” Schroeder said. “There’s going to be a recount. We may not know who the assemblyman is for another month.”
That means two Assembly seats – one in the north in LD38, and one in the south in LD2, the former where an incumbent Democrat hangs onto a slender lead and the latter where an incumbent Republican nurses a slender lead – are in suspension tonight pending further examination in a court of law.