Democrats once again have something to which they have gotten used to over the years — control of the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
The results of voting machine tallies show that party members Joseph Derella and Doug Long ousted incumbent Republicans Mary Gruccio and Thomas Sheppard.
The tallies show Derella with 24,564 votes, Long with 24,127, Gruccio 17,414 and Sheppard 17,342. Derella and Long will each serve three-year terms. Complete results will not be available until officials with the Cumberland County Board of Elections finish tallying thousands of vote-by-mail ballots.
Tuesday’s victory snaps a one-year control of the board by county Republicans, who held a slim 4-3 majority. This was only the third time in about 40 years that Republicans controlled the panel.
Democrats will now have a 5-2 majority on the freeholder board. Derella and Long will join incumbent Democratic Freeholders William Whelan, Carol Musso and Tony Surace. Samuel Fiocchi and Carl Kirstein will make up the board’s Republican representation.
Derella, a member of Millville City Commission, said he and Long want to move forward on issues that they addressed during their campaign. Those issues include finding new jobs and ratables, improving educational opportunities, and coordinating efforts against crime, he said.
“We had a message that we delivered and I think the message was correct,” Derella said. “For me, it’s about looking forward and making sure that we deliver on the message.”
Long said he expects Democrats to review the actions prompted this year by the Republican-led freeholders. He said that could results in some changes, including personnel changes.
“We’ll get together as a group,” Long said. “We’ll decide where we’re going to go. A lot those questions will be answered in the next few weeks.”
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