In three South Jersey counties, voters headed to the polls to determine who will serve as the sheriff - each county's chief law enforcement officer.

Atlantic County

In the Atlantic County Sheriff's race, Democrat Eric Scheffler won over Republican Jack Glasser with all precincts reporting.

Scheffler received 29,484 votes. Glasser received 27,865 votes

Glasser and Scheffler were seeking the sheriff's seat currently held by Michael Petuskey, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Frank X. Balles.

In the race for freeholder, voters had to pick two candidates to fill seats among Republicans John W. Risley Jr. and Tony DiPietro and Democrats Caren Fitzpatrick and Thelma Witherspoon and Green Party candidate Melissa Tomlinson.

At 10:44 p.m., the Atlantic County Freeholders race was too close to call, and mail-in ballots still needed to be counted, said Michael Suleiman, the Atlantic County Democratic Chairman. 

Risley and Fitzpatrick received 27,852 and 27,509 votes respectively. DiPietro and Witherspoon received 27,422 and 26,960 votes respectively. Tomlinson received 1,452 votes.

Risley is the incumbent looking to return to his seat. The other seat is currently held by Alexander C. Marino, who is not seeking re-election.

In the Freeholder District 3 race, Democrat Ashley Bennett beat incumbent Republican John L. Carman in upset with all precincts reporting.

Bennett received 5,916 votes. Carman received 5,417 votes.

Carman losing to Bennett may have been due to two controversies involving him this year. He was criticized for his use of a Confederate symbol and for a Facebook post that angered constituents during the Women's March on Washington.

Cape May County

In the race for sheriff, Republican Robert Nolan was vying for the job against Democrat Richard Harron.

At 9:55 p.m., Marcus Karavan, the Cape May County GOP chairman, declared Nolan had won over Harron, but the numbers were not confirmed, and all districts were not counted.

With 107 of 127 districts reporting in Cape May County, the race for sheriff narrowed to less than 100 votes.

Nolan lead with 12,811 votes over Harron with 12,725 votes.

"I'm sitting on the edge of my seat," Harron said.

When Harron lost his bid for the endorsement of the Republican Party in the primary, he switched to the Democratic Party at the request of Jeff Sutherland, chairman of the county Democrats.

Nolan is the undersheriff and had the support of retiring Sheriff Gary Schaffer in addition to winning the GOP primary.

In the race for freeholder, with 87 of 127 Districts reporting, GOP incumbents Will Morey and Jeffrey Pierson had comfortable leads over Democrats Danielle Davies and Gregory Wall.

Morey has 10,782 votes, and Pierson has 10,196 votes. Davies and Wall pulled 8,032 and 7,607 respectively.

Morey, who is president and CEO of Morey's Piers in Wildwood, was elected to the Freeeholder Board in 2011 while Pierson, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general, was appointed to the board to fill the unexpired term of Kristine Gabor.

Cumberland County

In the race for sheriff, Democratic Robert A. Austino competed against Reublican Edwin Alicea.

With all precincts reporting, Austino received 15,620 votes. Alicea received 11,107 votes.

Austino was the incumbent, who has 30 years of law enforcement experience.

In the race for freeholder, Republicans Carman Daddario, Victoria Lods and Kevin Smanitto were up against Democrats Carol Musso, Jack Surrency and George Castellini along with independent Robert T. Johnson

With all precincts reporting, Musso, Castellini and Surrency received 14,053, 13,632, and 13,185 votes respectively. Daddario, Lods and Smaniotto had received 11,098, 11,030 and 10,929 votes respectively. Johnson has received 3,244 votes.

Political control of the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders was up for grabs as the Democrats hold a 4-3 majority. Musso and Daddario were both incumbents running for reelection.

Ocean County

Incumbent Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Vicari defeated Democrat Helen Dela Cruz. With all 413 districts reporting, Vicari received 84,762 votes. Dela Cruz received 58,544 votes.

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Contact: 609-272-7202


Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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