The Position Of Atlantic County Executive Through The Years
In 1974, The voters of Atlantic County created The County Executive form of government.
Atlantic County had previously established a Charter Study Commission in 1973, which recommended the changes that were ultimately accepted by the voters.
Previously, a 7-Member Board of Chosen Freeholders (all elected at large) governed Atlantic County government.
In 1975, Charles Worthington, a Democrat became the first Atlantic County Executive.
It was a fascinating election (1974) as Democrats went from having a 5-2 Freeholder Board majority, to a flipped 7-2 Republican majority in the first election of the County Executive form of government.
The voters selected a Democrat to be their first County Chief Executive Officer, but, also consciously put in place the checks and balances of the other political party to have control of the legislative branch.
Worthington served two terms and did not seek election to a 3rd term.
Republican Dick Squires won the General Election of 1983 over Democrat Joe Messick.
Squires served 4 terms, a full 16 years, before deciding not to run for re-election in 1999.
Squires was very popular and could have easily continued for another term or more.
Following Squires abrupt retirement, Dennis Levinson ran as the Republican Nominee for Atlantic County Executive in the election of 1999, defeating Tom Foley, earning 53 percent of the popular vote.
Levinson has won the position a record 6 times. In a Hurley/WPG exclusive, we have confirmed Levinson’s intention to run for an unprecedented 7th term.
In more than 46 years, only 3 individuals have held the position of Atlantic County Executive; with Squires and Levinson serving for a combined 38 years.
LEVINSON’S ELECTION HISTORY AS ATLANTIC COUNTY EXECUTIVE:
- 1999 Levinson defeated Tom Foley (53% to 47%)
- 2003 Levinson runs unopposed and wins 83% of the vote.
- 2007 Levinson routs incumbent Democrat Sheriff Jim McGettigan (65% to 35%). McGettigan would go on to lose his Atlantic County Sheriff position the following year. Levinson routed McGettigan by a margin of 37,096 to 19,502 in one of the biggest blowouts in Atlantic County history.
- 2011 Levinson defeated Clifton Sudler (66% to 34%) NOTE: Sudler has since switched political parties and is now a Republican Galloway Township Councilman-elect.
- 2015 Levinson defeated Jim Schroeder, Jr., who left the race in September, but, remained on the ballot. Levinson won with 63 percent of the vote.
- 2019 Levinson defeated Northfield Councilwoman Susan Korngut with 62 percent of the vote.
In 6 elections, Foley gave Levinson his closest election, 53% to 47% during Levinson’s first try more than 22 years ago.
The Atlantic County Executive is the chief executive officer of The County of Atlantic.
The Atlantic County Executive is responsible for:
- Managing all County business.
- Implementing policy.
- Administering County Services.
- Directing Executive Staff.
Four other of the 21 New Jersey counties in New Jersey have the elected County Executive form of government in place. They are:
The Atlantic County Executive is elected to a 4-year term.
Levinson is up for re-election in 2023, at which time he will have served as Atlantic County Executive for a record 24 years.
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