MT. HOLLY, N.J. — It was another brutal end (to another brutal week) for the rapidly-collapsing Burlington County Republican Party.
On Saturday, Sheriff Jean Stanfied’s (R-Westampton) long-speculated decision to NOT seek reelection in 2019 became public.
“After more than 20 years in law enforcement making a lasting impact in the lives of Burlington County residents, Sheriff Jean Stanfield has decided she will not be seeking reelection in November,” the Burlco GOP announced via its Facebook page. “Sheriff Stanfield was elected as the first female sheriff of Burlington County in 2002, serving as an undersheriff before then, since 1996. While Stanfield made history upon her election, the legacy she has created was even more meaningful. Stanfield had a vision for how policing could go above its law and order responsibilities and truly help communities, and she has implemented that vision to perfection. We are so grateful for her many years of dedication to both county residents and the Republican party and we know that she won’t be a stranger as she enjoys her well-earned retirement.”
Stanfield is in her 6th term as sheriff, having first been elected back in 2001.
Losing the veteran, popular Stanfield is only the latest in a series of blows for a suddenly diminished Burlington GOP since November when it lost control of the county freeholder board for the first time in decades. Since then, LD8 State Senator Dawn Addiego switched to the Democrat caucus; Burlington Republicans are currently warring internally over the fate of one of Addiego’s historic allies, LD8 Assemblyman Joe Howarth, who stands accused by the new chairman of attempting to switch parties. Howarth continues to deny the allegation and intends to seek the party nomination in June’s primary.
Burlington’s leftward trend has been decades in the making. A Republican presidential candidate hasn’t carried the county since 1988 which was also the last year a Republican (George H. W. Bush) carried New Jersey.