MOUNT HOLLY — She's back.

After ending up in last place in November's election, Republicans in Burlington County this week returned Linda Hughes to the same Freeholder Board that voters had removed her from.

The opening for Hughes on the five-seat panel, which is dominated by the GOP, was created by Republican Freeholder Ryan Peters getting elected to the Assembly.

Hughes was defeated in November when two Democratic challengers beat the GOP incumbents in a rare countywide win for Democrats.

Hughes received just 55,976 votes while her running mate, former Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio, garnered 56,108.

Democrats Balvir Singh, a Burlington City teacher, got 58,354 votes, and former Edgewater Park Mayor Tom Pullion got 61,605.

Burlington County Republican Chairman Bill Layton said the Democrats' victory was a fluke, which he attributed to their party's high voter registration, and he said Hughes has the name recognition to win another three years on the board when her unexpired term ends next year, the Burlington County Times reported.

Burlington wasn't the only Republican-leaning county to experience a Democratic upset in November. In Somerset County, Democrats won a county seat for the first time in a generation when Somerville Councilman Steve Peter defeated County Clerk Brett Radi.

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