It was a mixed decision in the Atlantic County freeholder races on Tuesday, as Republican Freeholder-at-large Frank Giordano was defeated by Democratic challenger Colin Bell, while 2nd and 5th Ward Freeholders Frank Formica and Jim Bertino were victorious over their Democratic opponents.

Bell, an Atlantic City attorney who ran unsuccessfully for at-large freeholder in 2011, was ahead of two-term incumbent Giordano by an unofficial count of 47,852 to 44,085.

“I’m overjoyed,” said Bell, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large spot last year. “We worked really hard, and I think our message resonated. I’m happy to be a freeholder.”

Bell’s addition cuts the Republican majority on the Board of Chosen Freeholders from 8-1 to 7-2.

“It means a lot to have a second Democratic seat,” Bell said. “You need a second freeholder to introduce legislation. (Democratic 1st District Freeholder) Charlie Garrett is a great guy, and I look forward to working with him. I look forward to working with all freeholders, Republican and Democrat. I’ve been working at this for two years, and I think it paid off tonight.”

Formica, the freeholder chairman, was re-elected to a second term in the 2nd District by an unofficial count of 12,724 to 7,619 over Democratic challenger Stephen Dicht.

Regarding Giordano, Formica said that Republicans running countywide in a presidential election year, when Democratic turnout is greater, is always “an extra challenge.”

“The people have spoken,” Formica said. “I’m just going to go back to work trying to come up with solutions to create a better economic environment for the region.”

Bertino, running in his second election in two years after being appointed to the 5th District seat after Jim Curcio was elected surrogate in 2010, won a full term on his own, defeating Democratic challenger Erica Polito by an unofficial count of 11,576 to 8,444.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support in this year’s election,” Bertino said. “I look forward to continuing to serve and work to help keep our county the best-run in the state.”

All races were for three-year terms. Provisional and mail-in ballots had not yet been reported.

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